Altman, Aryeh

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ALTMAN, ARYEH (1902–1982), Zionist Revisionist leader. Altman was born in Balta, Russia, where his father, Menasheh, a Hebrew teacher, was head of the local Zionist movement, and after the Revolution of 1917, head of the Jewish community and deputy mayor of the town. In 1919 the family moved to Odessa, where Aryeh Altman was imprisoned on various occasions by the Soviet authorities for Zionist activity. He was one of some 300 leading Zionists belonging to all political parties who were arrested by the Bolshevik authorities in 1924. Altman traveled to Moscow to intercede with the authorities to allow them to immigrate to Israel instead of being exiled to Siberia. After months of negotiation between the Russian and British authorities he finally received the required permission for aliyah, with the Zionists and their families finally departing on a special boat.

From 1927 to 1935 Altman resided in the United States, where he received his doctorate, and headed the Zionist Revisionist movement. On his return to Ereẓ Israel he held the same position and was instrumental in the formation of the *Irgun Ẓeva'i Leummi in 1937 and was appointed by V. *Jabotinsky as chairman of the triumvirate that headed the organization. After the death of Jabotinsky he was appointed head of the New Zionist Organization. From 1948 to 1950 he was a member of the Provisional Government Council. Altman was a member of the Second through the Fifth Knesset. In 1972 the honor of Yakir Yerushalayim was conferred upon him and in 1976 he was appointed vice chairman of the Israeli-American Friendship Society.