Biram, Arthur

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BIRAM, ARTHUR (Yiḥḥak ; 1878–1967), Hebrew educator. Biram, who was born in Bischofswerda, Germany, attended Berlin University and the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. From 1909 to 1913 he taught classics in German high schools. An early member of the Zionist movement, he went to Ereẓ Israel in 1914 and was appointed by the Zionist Executive principal of the Reali High School in Haifa. After serving with the German Army in Palestine during World War i, Biram became in 1918 deputy principal of the Hebrew Teachers' College in Jerusalem. He returned to Haifa in 1920 and again became principal of the Reali High School, where he also taught Bible, until 1948. During his tenure, the school was enlarged and its activities diversified. In 1937 he initiated the paramilitary training program of high school pupils, called Ḥagam (abbreviation for Ḥinnukh Gufani Murḥav, i.e., "extended physical education"), later renamed *Gadna. In 1943 he established and headed a teachers' seminary at the Reali High School and, in 1953, initiated the establishment of a military academy there. He wrote the three-volume Divrei Yemei Yisrael bi-Zeman ha-Mikra be-Misgeret Toledot ha-Mizrah ("History of Israel in Biblical Times in the Context of Near Eastern History," 1962–64), based mainly on his own method of teaching the Bible. For Biram the training of pupils toward fulfilling their duties as citizens, and the inculcation of discipline, order, and precision, were educational principles which could determine the fate of the nation. He devoted special attention to physical education, military training, and scouting. Under his direction, the course of studies at the Reali High School consisted of six years of primary and six years of secondary education, the latter being divided into two stages, permitting specialization in the senior grades. Some of Biram's reforms were later incorporated into the educational system of the country. Biram received the Israel Prize for Education in 1954.


Sefer Biram (1956); Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1696f.

[Joseph Bentwich]