Yahil (Hoffmann), Chaim

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YAHIL (Hoffmann), CHAIM

YAHIL (Hoffmann), CHAIM (1905–1974), Israeli diplomat and Zionist. Yahil was born in Wallachisch Meseritsch, Austro-Hungary (later Czechoslovakia), and founded there the local branch of the Zionist youth movement, Blau-Weiss, and later became a member of the movement's national council in Czechoslovakia.

He immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1929, but later returned to Europe where he received his Ph.D. in political science, in Vienna. He then engaged in social and Zionist activity in Prague, returning to Ereẓ Israel in 1939.

During World War ii he was a member of the Haifa and, subsequently, Tel Aviv Labor Councils. In 1945 he was among the first Palestinian emissaries to liberated Europe, as director of the Palestinian Relief Unit under the auspices of unrra, sponsored by the Jewish Agency. In this connection he was involved in all activities concerning Jewish Displaced Persons, their organization, education and movements into Germany by *Beriḥah and from Germany by Aliyah Bet.

Upon the establishment of the State of Israel he was accredited to the Occupying Power as the first Israeli Consul in Munich. From 1951 he was a member of the Israeli Foreign Service, serving successively as director of information, deputy-director of the Reparations Mission to Germany, ambassador to Scandinavia, and director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry (1960–64). Subsequently, he established and headed the Diaspora Center, a joint enterprise of the Israeli Government and Jewish Agency (1965–68) which enabled him to foster Israeli-Diaspora relations. He was appointed the first chairman of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (1965–72). He was the Encyclopaedia Judaica divisional editor for contemporary Jewry.

During his term of office relations with Africa were developed and technical cooperation with developing countries institutionalized. Yahil was a firm believer in socialism, but after a life-long association with the Labor Zionist party, he left it in 1972, becoming a founding member and leader of the Land of Israel Movement, which advocated an undivided Israel.

His first work Trager der Verwirklichung, Die Zionistische Arbeiterschaft im Aufbau (1938) was published under his original name Chaijim Hoffmann; he also published Scandinavian Socialism in its Implementations (Hebrew, 1966). After his death there appeared Hazon U-Ma'avak (1977), a selection of articles he wrote between 1965 and 1974, and Israel's Foreign Relations, Vols. i and ii (1976), jointly with Meron Medzini.