Harzfeld (Postrelko), Avraham

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HARZFELD (Postrelko ), AVRAHAM (1888–1973), labor leader in Ereẓ Israel. Born in Stavishche, Ukraine, he studied at the yeshivot of Berdichev and Telz, receiving a rabbinical diploma. In 1906 he joined the Russian Socialist Zionist Party (ss), for which he was twice arrested and imprisoned for two years in Vilna. In 1910 he was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor in Siberia, but in 1914 escaped from Siberia and reached Ereẓ Israel, where he worked as an agricultural laborer in Petaḥ Tikvah and was active in the labor movement. During World War i he played an important role in helping Jews who had been arrested by the Turks, including members of the secret *Nili group. Harzfeld was a member of *Po'alei Zion (1914–19), *Aḥdut ha-Avodah (1919–30), and *Mapai (from 1930) and was one of the founders of the *Histadrut in 1920. From 1919 he was a prominent member of the Histadrut's earlier Central Agricultural Council (Ha-Merkaz ha-Ḥakla'i) and in over 40 years of office played an important role in planning agricultural settlement in Palestine. He initiated many settlement projects and followed with dedication and diligence the development of new settlements throughout the country. For more than 40 years, including the difficult *Stockade and Watchtower period, there was hardly an establishment of a new settlement at which Harzfeld was not personally present. He was a member of the Zionist General Council from 1921, a member of the directorate of the Jewish National Fund from 1949, and a Mapai Knesset member in the first, second, and third Knesset. Harzfeld was awarded a special Israel Prize in 1972, in appreciation of his lifelong service to the State. He became known for the "ḥasidic" atmosphere of enthusiastic group singing, which he introduced in intervals at the meetings of Zionist and yishuv bodies.


S. Kushnir, The Village Builder: biography of A. Hartzfeld (1967).

[Gedalyah Elkoshi]

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Harzfeld (Postrelko), Avraham

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