Avigur (Meirov), Shaul

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AVIGUR (Meirov ), SHAUL (1899–1978), key figure in the *Haganah. Avigur was born in Dvinsk, Russia. He went to Ereẓ Israel in 1912 and, six years later, became a member of the kevuẓah Kinneret, participating in the defense of *Tel Ḥai in 1920. Later he took charge of the Haganah's central arms depot in Kinneret. He was an active member of the *Aḥdut ha-Avodah Party and then of *Mapai. From 1922 Avigur was a member of the national committee of the Haganah. He devoted himself to purchasing arms, to underground arms manufacture, and to the organization of the Haganah's intelligence service (Sherut Yedi'ot). During World War ii Avigur was active in organizing "illegal" aliyah from Middle Eastern countries. When the war ended, he headed the vast underground operation for the transportation of the survivors of European Jewry (Ha-Mosad le-Aliyah Bet; see *Immigration, "Illegal"), working from Paris in close contact with the *Beriḥah ("Escape") organization. In 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence, Avigur was in charge of the purchase of arms in Europe. Until the mid-1950s he was a chief assistant to Minister of Defense David Ben-Gurion, and thereafter served in special capacities on behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office. He was a member of the editorial board of Sefer Toledot ha-Haganah ("The History of the Haganah"), and published a book of reminiscences, Im Dor ha-Haganah ("With the Haganah Generation"), 1962.

Avigur was a central figure in the fight for emigration of Soviet Jewry. He was the recipient of the Israel Prize in 1973.


Dinur, Haganah, 2, pt. 3 (19642); part 3 (1972), index; Tidhar, 4 (1950), 2648–50.

[Yehuda Slutsky]