Artzi, Yitzhak

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ARTZI, YITZHAK (Herzig ; 1920–2003), Zionist activist, Israeli politician, leader of Romanian Jewry in Israel. Born in Siret (Bukovina) into a ḥasidic family, Artzi received both a traditional and modern education, studying literature and philosophy at Onescu College for Jewish Students, Bucharest, Romania (1940–44). In 1931 he joined Pirḥei Agudat Israel, moving to Ha-No'ar ha-Ẓiyyoni in 1933 and becoming one of its leaders in 1940 after moving to Bucharest. In 1943 he was a member of Ezra (the commission for the aid and rescue of Jews deported to Transnistria) and in December 1943–January 1944 he was part of the official delegation sent to prepare the return of Transnistria orphans to Romania. After World War ii he reorganized Ha-No'ar ha-Ẓiyyoni and became a member of the Zionist Executive of Romania. In September 1946 he and his wife left Romania as illegal emigrants to Palestine, but were arrested and sent to Cyprus. They entered Palestine in September 1947. In 1948 Artzi was among the founders of kibbutz Allonei Abba. In 1951 he moved to Tel Aviv and in 1953–57 studied at the School of Law and Economics there, where he became a lawyer. In 1952 he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and changed his name from Herzig to Artzi. From September 1953 to November 1955 he edited the Hebrew daily Zemanim. In 1958 he became general secretary of the Progressive Party, and after the founding of the Liberal Party (1961) became one of its two general secretaries. After the party split and the breakaway Independent Liberal Party was formed, Artzi became its general secretary (1965) and director of the Aliyat ha-No'ar Department of the Jewish Agency (1965–69). In 1974 he became deputy mayor and director of the Culture, Youth, and Sport Dept. of the Tel Aviv Municipality. Artzi remained a member of the Municipal Council of Tel Aviv until 1993. In 1984–88 he was a member of the Knesset. Artzi was active in the Claims Conference of the Jews against Germany. He encouraged the study of Romanian-Jewish history and the Holocaust, and was co-president of the Association of Romanian-born Jews in Israel; honorary president and columnist of the Romanian-language daily Ultima Ora, Tel Aviv; and president of the World Association of Bukovina-born Jews. In 1998 he published his memoirs in Hebrew, Davka Ẓiyyoni.


Y. Artzi, Siret Shelanu (2003); Y. Govrin, in: Ultima Ora (Sept. 3, 2004), 9.

[Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]