Aharonovitch, Yosef

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AHARONOVITCH, YOSEF (1877–1937), writer, editor, and Palestinian labor leader. Aharonovitch, who was born in Kirovka, in the Ukraine, acquired his general education in Odessa. On his way to Ereẓ Israel, he was a Hebrew teacher in Brody, Galicia, where he also established a youth movement, Ḥalutzei Zion. He arrived in Ereẓ Israel in 1906, and worked as a laborer and watchman in the Nes Ẓiyyonah and Reḥovot orange groves. A year later he became editor of Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir, the first journal of the Palestinian labor movement. During World War i Aharonovitch was exiled to Egypt, where he edited the anthology Ba-Nekhar ("On Foreign Soil") in Alexandria in 1918. After the war he returned to his editorial work in Palestine and to public life. Aharonovitch retired from Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir in 1922 to become director of Bank ha-Po'alim ("The Workers' Bank") in Tel Aviv. A leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, the Zionist movement, the Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir Party, and later Mapai, he helped to formulate the ideology and practical character of the Palestinian labor movement through his articles, speeches, and personal example. Aharonovitch believed in adapting to a dynamic new reality without being chained to dogmas and beliefs. He proposed that practical agricultural and industrial work should be carried out by Jews, and that the concerted efforts of pioneers were needed to prepare the ground for mass immigration. He crusaded for integrity in public life and efficiency in the country's social and economic institutions. His articles appeared in numerous newspapers and journals, including Ma'barot, Davar, Moznayim, Ha-Olam, Ha-Yom, Ha-Ḥinnukh, and Haaretz.

His pseudonyms included Temidi, Y.A., and Ben Sarah. In the last two years of his life he was chairman of the Hebrew Writers' Association. Two volumes of his selected articles, Kitvei Yosef Aharonovitch, were published in 1941 by his wife, the novelist Devorah *Baron, and Eliezer Shoḥat.


Kressel, Leksikon, s.v.; Ḥ. Shurer, Yosef Aharonovitch (1962), S. Jawnieli, Ketavim (1962), 503–13; I. Cohen, Gesharim (1955), 36–44; D. Sadan, Avnei Zikkaron (1954), 43–67; J. Fichmann, Be-Terem Aviv (1959), 377–90; M. Smilansky, Mishpaḥat ha-Adamah, 4 (1953), 65–84.

[Israel Cohen]