Aharon Zisling

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Aharon Zisling
Aharon Zisling.jpg
Date of birth 26 February 1901
Place of birth Minsk, Russian Empire
Date of death 16 January 1964(1964-01-16) (aged 62)
Knessets 1, 2
Faction represented in Knesset
1949–1954 Mapam
1954–1955 Ahdut HaAvoda
Ministerial roles
1948–1949 Minister of Agriculture

Aharon Zisling (Belarusian: Аарон Цызлінг; Hebrew: אהרון ציזלינג‎, 26 February 1901 – 16 January 1964) was an Israeli politician and minister and a signatory of Israel's declaration of independence.[1]


Born in Minsk in the Russian Empire (now in Belarus), Zisling emigrated to Palestine in 1904. He was among the founders of Youth Aliyah and as a member of the Haganah command, and participated in the founding of the Palmach; he was a founder of the Ahdut HaAvoda party, a Jewish Agency delegate to the UN and a member of the Zionist Executive Committee.

Following Israel's declaration of independence in 1948, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture in David Ben-Gurion's provisional government. By then Ahdut HaAvoda had evolved into Mapam.

However, Zisling was a noted critic of Ben-Gurion's policies towards Palestinian Arabs, in particular plans to occupy abandoned villages and to destroy standing Arab crops throughout the country after the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.[2][3]

About the atrocities committed during the war, Zisling told the Provisional State Council (the forerunner to the Knesset), on 17 November 1948:[4]

"I couldn’t sleep all night. I felt that things that were going on were hurting my soul, the soul of my family and all of us here (...) Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken." [5][6]

In 1949 he was elected to the first Knesset, but Mapam were not included in Ben-Gurion's coalition and Zisling lost his place in the cabinet. He was re-elected in 1951, and was part of the faction that broke away from Mapam to recreate Ahdut HaAvoda. He lost his seat in the 1955 elections and did not return to the Knesset.


  1. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Signatories of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. 8 Jun 2003
  2. Morris, Benny. Operation Dani and the Palestinian Exodus from Lydda and Ramle in 1948. Middle East Journal, vol. 40, n° 1 (Winter, 1986), pp. 82-109.
  3. We put the Arabs on buses. By Yossi Melman. Haaretz, Feb. 11, 2005.
  4. Speech given to the South African Parliament by Minister Ronnie Kasrils, MP, on the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation. June 6, 2007.
  5. The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined. By Dominique Vidal. Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1997
  6. Tom Segev, 1949 - The First Israelis, Owl Books, 1998, p. 26.

External links