Galili (Berchenko), Israel

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GALILI (Berchenko), ISRAEL

GALILI (Berchenko), ISRAEL (1911–1986), Israeli politician and former *Haganah commander; member of the First and Third to Eighth Knessets. Born in Brailov, in the Ukraine, Galili was brought to Ereẓ Israel by his parents in 1914. He studied printing at an elementary school in Tel Aviv. In 1924 he was among the founders of the No'ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed youth movement, and in 1930 one of the founders of kibbutz Na'an. Galili was active within the Youth Center in the *Histadrut, and in 1927 joined the *Haganah. In 1935 he became a member of its Central Command on behalf of the Histadrut. During World War ii Galili played an active role in the preparation for a possible German invasion of Palestine. When the split took place in *Mapai in 1944, after Si'aḥ B broke away, he became one of the leaders of *Aḥdut ha-Avodah-Po'alei Zion. After the war Galili played an active role in the armed underground activities against the British Administration and was placed in charge of the Haganah's purchasing and arming department. On "Black Saturday" on June 29, 1946, he managed to evade arrest by the British. In the years 1946–48 he was chief of the Territorial Staff of the Haganah, in which capacity he participated in the preparation of the Israeli War of Independence. During the war one of his main tasks was arms acquisition. In the Provisional Government formed by Ben-Gurion in 1948 Galili was appointed deputy minister of defense, in which capacity he opposed the breakup of the *Palmaḥ as ordered by Ben-Gurion. In January 1948 Galili supported the union of Aḥdut ha-Avodah with *Mapam and was elected to the First Knesset in 1949 on the Mapam list. He was not elected to the Second Knesset, but in 1954 he supported the split of Aḥdut ha-Avodah-Po'alei Zion from Mapam, against the background of differences of opinion regarding the Soviet Union. He was reelected to the Third Knesset on the Aḥdut ha-Avodah-Po'alei Zion list. In the Third to Fifth Knessets he was a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1965 he supported the establishment of the first Alignment with Mapai, and in 1968 supported the establishment of the *Israel Labor Party. In the years 1966–77 he served in successive governments as minister without portfolio, except for a brief period after the Six-Day War when he served as minister of information. Galili was always a behind-the-scenes figure, acting as adviser to Prime Minister Golda Meir and Yitzhak *Rabin. Several months before the elections to the Eighth Knesset Galili prepared a policy proposal, known as the Galili Document, which outlined the Labor Party's policy in the occupied territories for the next four years. The document was considered relatively hawkish and was opposed by the Labor Party doves. The document advocated that Israel develop the economy, infrastructures, and social services for the Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and economic ties between Israel and the territories; hold municipal elections in the territories (this was actually done in 1976); continue the open bridges policy initiated by Moshe *Dayan; enable the employment of Arabs from the territories in Israel while ensuring equal salary and employment conditions for them; build permanent housing for the refugees in the Gaza Strip; acquire land for Jewish development and settlement in the territories; encourage Jewish settlement activities more or less within the parameters of the Allon Plan; and continue the development of Jewish Jerusalem. Galili was not chosen as a candidate on the Labor list in the elections to the Ninth Knesset, and gradually turned into one of the "party elders" and a mentor to former members of Aḥdut ha-Avodah. He encouraged Yigal *Allon to contend for the Labor Party leadership in 1980, and after Allon's death encouraged Yitzhak Rabin.

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]