Sherf, Ze'ev

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SHERF, ZE'EV (1906–1984). Israeli civil servant and politician, member of the Sixth and Seventh Knessets. Born in Izbor, Bukovina, which at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sherf studied in ḥadarim and in a primary school, and later studied to be a goldsmith. In his youth he was active in Young *Po'aeli Zion and served as a member of its executive. He was also a member of the executive of the Social Democratic Youth in Romania. He settled in Palestine in 1925, and worked for three years as a clerk in the Fund of the Workers of Ereẓ Israel established by Po'alei Zion, which had joined the Histadrut in 1925. He joined kibbutz Shefayim of which he was a member for two years, and then spent five years on a mission abroad. In the years 1935–40 Sherf was secretary of the Histadrut sports association Hapoel, on behalf of Po'alei Zion. In 1940–44 he served in the administration of the *Haganah. In 1945 he was appointed secretary of the *Jewish Agency Political Department, serving in that capacity until 1947, under Moshe *Sharett. In 1948 he was appointed secretary of the Emergency Committee and the People's Administration, which directed the preparations for the establishment of the Jewish State and its civil service. As the final task of the People's Administration upon the termination of the British Mandate in Palestine, he drafted a proposal for the structure of the administration in the Jewish State – including the ministries and their budgets. Sherf served as the secretary of the Israeli government in 1948–57, and laid down the foundations for the government administration and the civil service. Later he became director of state revenues in the Ministry of Finance, and implemented a reform in the tax system. In the years 1961–63 he served as administrative director of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and in 1964–65 as advisor to Prime Minister Levi *Eshkol. In 1965 he was elected to the Sixth Knesset on behalf of Mapai on the Alignment list, and was appointed minister of commerce and industry, in which capacity he served until 1969. In 1968 he was also appointed minister of finance, after the resignation of Pinhas *Sapir. Sherf was reelected to the Seventh Knesset in 1969, and in the government formed by Golda *Meir after the elections was appointed minister of housing, in which capacity he served until 1974.

He wrote about the immediate days prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, Sheloshah Yamim, 12–14.5.48, and ha-Shelavim ha-Aḥaronim be-Hakamat ha-Medinah (1959).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]