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Moshe Sharett

Moshe Sharett

Prime Minister

Foreign Minister

Born Moshe Shertok in Kherson, Ukraine on 16 October 1894, Moshe Sharett and his family moved to Palestine in 1906. Four years after emigrating to Palestine, his family settled in Jaffa; later, they were one of the founding families of Tel Aviv.

Moshe was a graduating member of the first class of Herzliya Hebrew High School. The school was founded in Jaffa in 1905 as the first Hebrew high school in Ottoman Palestine. Over the years, a number of talented people graduated from Herzliya High School – poets, artists, physicists, and surgeons.

Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium
Tel Aviv

After graduating from Herzliya, Sharett studied music for a time but then entered Istanbul University to study law. World War I interrupted his education; Sharett served in the Ottoman Army as a first lieutenant, where he worked as an interpretor.

After the war, Sharett worked for the Yishuv (the Jewish residents of Palestine before the creation of Israel) as a land purchase agent. He was also involved with Arab Affairs. Sharett joined Ahdut Ha'Avoda, a political party led by David Ben Gurion (and the predecessor of the Israeli Labor Party). Ahdut Ha'Avoda later merged with Mapai, a left-wing political party devoted to the establishment of a welfare state.

In the early 1920s, Sharett attended the London School of Economics. While pursuing his studies, Sharett edited the Workers of Zion, a newspaper of Poale Zion. He later worked for the Davar newspaper (Davar - newspaper of Eretz Yisrael Workers) for six years, beginning in 1925.

In 1931 Sharett became the secretary of the Jewish Agency's poliical department. Two years later, he became the head of the department following the assassination of its current head. Sharett was one of the signers (he signed as Moshe Shertok) of Israel's Declaration of Independence in May 1948. During the war that followed, he was the Foreign Minister of the Provisional Government of Israel.

The following year, 1949, Sharett was elected to the Knesset and continued as Foreign Minister; he held this post until 1956. During his service as Foreign Minister he established diplomatic relations with many countries and contributed to the efforts to admit Israel into the United Nations.

After David Ben-Gurion's 1953 retirement, Sharett became Prime Minister. The key event of his administration – the Lavon Affair – was to result in the early end of his political career. The Intelligence Branch of the Israeli Defense Forces recruited Egyptian Jews to commit terrorist acts against various targets in Egypt in an attempt to put the blame on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Communists. The aim was to bring down the Nasser government. Unfortunately, the operatives were inept and they got caught. Instead, both Lavon (the Defense Minister) and Sharett were forced out of power. Also read The Lavon Affair.

After retirement from government, Sharett became chairman of various organizations: a publishing house, a college, the World Zionist Organization, and the Jewish Agency. Moshe Sharett passed away on 7 July 1965 in Jerusalem.

To learn more about Moshe Sharett, read the following linked articles on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and on Wikipedia:

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Moshe Sharett

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Last Modified: 10-23-2023
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