He was the son of a pioneering family that moved from Jaffa to Rishon LeZion. There he could realize his dream to farm the Land of Israel. His house was the first one that was built in the moshava. His father’s knowledge of agriculture enabled him to be independent and not sink into debts like the other farmers, who had to comply with the orders issued by Baron Rothschild’s clerks.
In Rishon, the Hankin family argued with the Baron’s clerks who insisted that every farmer on the moshava sign an agreement so they could stay in the settlement. The Hankins were not willing to sign, nor were they willing to leave. It was only after a representative of “Hibat Zion” asked Olga Belkind, Yehoshua Hankin’s fiancée, to convince the family to leave, did they move to Gedera, which was not under the guardianship of the Baron and his clerks. There, the couple married. The family established good relations with the Arabs in the area. Yehoshua learned Arabic and was a regular guest at the homes of Arab farmers (fellahin) and Arab land owners. He learned their customs and got to know them well.
Hankin returned to Jaffa, where he began to work for the redemption of lands, in other words, buying land from Arabs and selling it for Jewish settlement. In the framework of “redemption of lands”, Hankin purchased the land where many settlements were established: Rehovot, Hadera, Merhavia, 51,000 dunams in the Jezreel Valley on which Nahalal and Kfar Yehezkel were built, Tel Yosef and Ein Harod. He also purchased the lands of Emek Hefer, Kibbutz Revivim, and others as well.
In 1932, he was appointed director of the Israel Land Development Company. In the last 20 years of his life, he was involved in the acquisition of approximately 600,000 dunams.