Bentov (Gutgeld), Mordekhai

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BENTOV (Gutgeld), MORDEKHAI (1900–1985). Israel politician, member of the First to Fifth Knessets. Bentov was born in Grodzisk, near Warsaw. He immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1920, working for several years in road construction and draining swamps. He graduated from the government law classes in Jerusalem and later became a member of kibbutz *Mishmar ha-Emek, where he lived for the rest of his life. As a leader of the *Ha-Shomer ha- Ẓa'ir movement, Bentov served as its representative in central bodies of the *Histadrut and the Zionist Movement. He was one of the members of Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir active from the late 1930s in trying to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of bi-nationalism, and was an active member in the League for Jewish-Arab Rapprochement and Cooperation. He was a member of the Jewish delegation to the 1939 Round Table Conference with the British Government to discuss the future of Palestine. Following the failure of the Conference, Bentov was chairman of a League of Nations committee that prepared a report published in June 1941 on a future constitution for Palestine, which came to be known as the "Bentov book." In 1947 he became a member of the Political Committee representing the Jewish Agency in the un. In 1943–48 he served as editor of the Mapam daily, Al ha-Mishmar. In the 1948 Provisional Government of Israel Bentov was minister of labor and reconstruction. He was a member of the Knesset for Mapam in 1949–65, minister of development in 1955–61, and minister of housing in 1966–69. He wrote Constitutional Development of Palestine (1941); The Road to Bi-national Independence for Palestine (1947); Yisrael, ha-Palestina'im ve-ha-Semol ("Israel, the Palestinians and the Left," 1971); and a 1984 memoir.

[Benjamin Jaffe /

Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]