Locker, Berl

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LOCKER, BERL (1887–1972), Labor Zionist leader. Locker was born in Kriwiec, Galicia, and from 1902 he began to contribute to the Lemberg Labor Zionist newspaper, Der Yidisher Arbeiter, of which he later became editor. He organized the *Po'alei Zion party in the Austrian Empire before World War i. During the war Locker spent some time in the United States and from 1916 ran the world office of Po'alei Zion at The Hague. At the world conference of Po'alei Zion in Vienna (1920) he supported the split that brought about the separation of the pro-Communist wing and headed the World Union of Po'alei Zion ("right wing"). He was a member of the Zionist and Jewish Agency Executives in London from 1931 to 1936, when he settled in Palestine. Locker was a member of the *Histadrut Executive from 1936 to 1938, and from 1938 headed the political bureau of the Jewish Agency in London during the period of the struggle against the policy embodied in the White Paper of 1939 and for Jewish statehood. He tried to effect a rapprochement with the British government, particularly after the Labour Party took office in 1945.

From the establishment of the State of Israel (1948) until 1956, Locker served as chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Third Knesset on the *Mapai list. Locker wrote many articles and pamphlets in Yiddish, German, Hebrew, and English. For the most part, he devoted himself to Zionist propaganda in England, and during the yishuv's struggle in Palestine he published the pamphlet, A Stiff-Necked PeoplePalestine in Jewish History (1946; the American edition is called Covenant Everlasting, 1947). A Hebrew translation and selections of his articles were published in Be-Ḥevlei Kiyyum u-Tekumah (1963). Among the various newspapers and publications of the Labor Zionists, he edited a selection of Ber *Borochov's work in Yiddish (1928). He also wrote Mi-Kitov ad Yerushalayim (1970).


N.M. Gelber, Toledot ha-Tenu'ah ha-Ẓiyyonit be-Galiẓyah (1958), 771–3; Tidhar, 11 (1961), 3779.