Arlosoroff, Chaim (Victor)

(1899–1933)
   Labour Zionist leader. Arlosoroff was born in Romny, in the Ukraine. When he was six, a pogrom broke out and his family moved to Germany. Arlosoroff studied economics at Berlin University. He was attracted to Zionism and helped establish the Hapoel ha-Za’ir movement in Germany. He participated in the union of Hapoel ha-Za’ir with Ze’irei Zion at Prague in 1920 to form the Hitachdut, and edited their newspaper.
   His pamphlet ‘Jewish Popular Socialism’, rejecting the Marxist doctrine of the class struggle, aroused attention. In 1920 he was elected by his party as representative to the Zionist Conference in London. In 1924 he settled in Palestine and became active in the yishuv. His penetrating mind and his talents as a writer, publicist and debater were recognized, and in 1926 he became a member of the Va’ad Leumi and represented the yishuv at the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.
   The same year, and again in 1928–9, he accompanied Chaim WEIZMANN to the United States to strengthen Zionist ties in that country. When in 1930 Hapoel ha-Za’ir merged with Achdut Avodah to form Mapai (Palestine Workers Party), Arlosoroff became one of its leading spokesmen.
   At the Zionist Congress in 1931, after the Passfield White Paper, Weizmann’s pro-British policy came under fire. He resigned and SOKOLOW was elected president of the Zionist Organization in his place. Arlosoroff was made head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency but he followed Weizmann’s general policy. He appointed Moshe Shertok as his secretary and they worked for a modus vivendi with the Arabs. Though on friendly terms with the British high commissioner, Sir Arthur Wauchope, he came to realize that a struggle with Britain would almost certainly break out within five to ten years. In a confidential letter to Weizmann in 1932, he broached the possibility of a revolutionary stage for Jewish survival in Palestine.
   When Hitler came to power in 1933, Arlosoroff hurried to Germany to organize Jewish emigration to Palestine and the agreement for transfer of part of their property. That same year he was shot while walking with his wife on the Tel Aviv seashore.
   Two days later, three Revisionists - Abba Achimeir, Abraham Stavsky and Zevi Rosenblatt - were arrested and accused of the murder. Throughout the proceedings they maintained their innocence. Achimeir and Rosenblatt were acquitted and Stavsky was condemned to death. On appeal, he was released because of insufficient evidence. The case split the Zionist movement and the yishuv.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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