The Baron Edmond de Rothschild arrived for his first visit to Eretz Israel in 1887. From Jaffa, he and his wife Adelheid set out for Mikveh Israel and then proceeded
to Jerusalem, where their first stop was the Western (Wailing) Wall, which he asked to buy. Apparently he discussed the proposition with Jerusalem rabbis, who feared that the purchase of the Western Wall, adjacent to the mosques on the Temple Mount, would incite the opposition of Moslems, and the acquisition did not go through. During his stay in Jerusalem, the Baron toured the entire city and traveled with the Baroness to Rachel's Tomb.
From there they continued to Rishon le-Zion and to Ekron. His visit to Rishon le-Zion, at the peak of the farmers' 'mutiny' against his administrators, saddened the Baron, and his behaviour towards them was harsh. Nevertheless, his visit to Ekron went well, and he announced there that the village would henceforth be known as Mazkeret Batya in memory of his mother, who had died a short while earlier.
Following his visit to Petach Tikva the Baron arrived in Zikhron Ya'akov. After seeing the moshava, he went on to Rosh Pina. Viewing the panorama spread out before the Galilean mountain village, he expressed the desire to acquire it ‒ from the Hula lake to the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret).
The Baron concluded from his visit that it was necessary to continue supporting the colonies, to expand them and to invest in further settlement ‒ a decision that led him to build two modern, modern wineries in order to utilize the grape crops. He instructed his administrators to acquire as much land as possible and to bring under his aegis the moshavot of Petach Tikva and Yesod Ha-Ma'ala, which had been supported previously by the Hibbat Zion movement.