Ḥazan, Ya'akov

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ḤAZAN, YA'AKOV (1899–1992), Israeli political leader and leading figure in the *Mapam socialist party; member of the First to Seventh Knessets. Born in Brest Litovsk in Russia. Ḥazan studied in a reformed ḥeder, then later at a Hebrew high school and the Warsaw Politechnicum. In 1915 he was one of the founders of the Hebrew Scout movement in Poland, which developed into *Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, and of the *He-Ḥalutz movement in Poland. In 1923 he immigrated to Palestine, where he worked as a farm laborer and in the draining of swamps before settling in kibbutz Mishmar ha-Emek and participating in the foundation of *Ha-Kibbutz ha-Arẓi, the kibbutz movement of Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir in 1927. For many years he was a member of the *Histadrut Executive. Together with Meir *Ya'ari he headed Ha-Kibbutz ha-Arẓi, and later Mapam. While Ya'ari was more of an ideologue and writer, Ḥazan was a brilliant orator and charismatic leader. Until the mid-1950s he supported, together with Ya'ari, a pro-Soviet line. In the Knesset he was Mapam's main spokesman on foreign and defense issues. In the Third, Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Knessets, when Mapam had representatives in the government, neither he nor Ya'ari accepted ministerial positions. Prior to the elections to the Ninth Knesset in 1969 he was one of the architects of the establishment of the Alignment between Mapam and the *Israel Labor Party, and fought against those who wished to dissolve it. Within Mapam he was considered to be relatively hawkish in his positions. However, in 1984 those within Mapam who objected to the establishment of the National Unity Government between the Alignment and the *Likud gained the upper hand, and Mapam returned to being an Independent parliamentary group in the Knesset. In 1989 Ḥazan received the Israel Prize for exemplary lifelong service to Israeli society. Among other writings he published the autobiographical Yaledut u-Ne'urim on his childhood and youth.


Optimist le-Lo Takanah: Ḥayyim Guri Mesoḥe'aḥ im Ya'akov Ḥazan (1989); Z. Ẓahor, Hazan Tenu'at Ḥayyim:Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uḥad, Mapam (1997).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]

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Ḥazan, Ya'akov

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