Zisling, Aharon

views updated


ZISLING, AHARON (1901–1964), labor leader in Ereẓ Israel. Born in the Minsk district, Belorussia, Zisling received both a religious and a secular education. In 1914 he was taken to Tel Aviv by his family. In 1917, when the Turkish authorities ordered the evacuation of Tel Aviv, Zisling studied with a group of deported teachers in Ḥaderah and, under the influence of Joseph Ḥayyim *Brenner, he grew closer to the labor movement. He worked as a laborer in kevuẓat Tirah near Haifa and on the Afulah-Nazareth road and participated in the founding of the workers' collective Ḥavurat ha-Emek, which merged with kibbutz En-Harod. Zisling, who was a delegate to the founding conference of the *Histadrut (1920) and served as secretary of the Jerusalem workers' council (1925–26), was a member of kibbutz En-Harod from its start and a leader of the *Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uḥad movement. Among the founders of *Youth Aliyah, he served on its executive board. As a member of the *Haganah command, he participated in the founding of the *Palmaḥ. During World War ii, Zisling was a founder of the Friendship League with the U.S.S.R. A leader of the original *Aḥdut ha-Avodah which merged with Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir to form *Mapai (1930), he led the Si'ah Bet ("faction b") when Mapai split and became a founder of the new Aḥdut ha-Avodah Party (1944) and of *Mapam (1948). He was a delegate to the Asefat ha-Nivḥarim, beginning with the second one, a member of the Va'ad Le'ummi executive, co-founder of Kofer ha-Yishuv (the yishuv defense fund), and an active member of central institutions of the Histadrut. In 1947 he was a member of the Jewish Agency delegation to the United Nations. He served in Minhelet ha-Am (People's Administration, see *Israel, State of, Central Governance) and in the provisional Israel government of 1948–49 as minister of agriculture. He was a member of the First Knesset. From 1961 to 1963 Zisling was a member of the Zionist Executive and headed its absorption department.


Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1571–72.

[Abraham Aharoni]