Minz, Benjamin

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MINZ, BENJAMIN (1903–1961), leader of the *Po'alei Agudat Israel movement. Born in Lodz, Poland, Minz went to Palestine in 1925. A member of Agudat Israel from his youth, he persistently advocated cooperation with the Zionist Movement, despite the opposition of his leaders. At the Third Great Assembly of Agudat Israel (Marienbad, 1937), he was elected a member of the Central Council, and in 1938 was elected to the Po'alei Agudat Israel Executive. During World War ii, he was active on the Va'ad ha-Haẓẓalah (rescue committee), and after the war he worked in dp camps in Germany (see *Displaced Persons). He initiated the founding of the World Union of Po'alei Agudat Israel at the Antwerp Conference (1946), and as its head led the movement into close cooperation with the institutions of the yishuv, in opposition to the policy of *Agudat Israel. Minz was a member of the Provisional State Council of Israel (1948) and later of the Knesset. He was elected deputy speaker of the Second Knesset and held the post until the Fourth Knesset. He overruled a decision of the Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Israel and joined the coalition government as minister of posts in 1960, thus causing a rift between his party and Agudat Israel. Minz wrote several books, mainly on ḥasidic topics.

[Menachem Friedman]