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Bidding Information
Lot #    17234
Auction End Date    3/13/2007 11:22:39 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by Moshe Shertok (Sharett)
Author    [Ms. - Zionism]
City    London
Publication Date    c. 1920
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 205:122 mm., with two holes punched on the left side (as for insertion into a notebook), light age staining, creased on folds, ink on paper, neat Ashkenazic script, signed and dated.
   Letter from Moshe Shertok to Yehuda Treivish , written in Lordship Park, wherein he apologizes for not responding sooner, and makes arrangements to meet by the British Museum on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Loose translation: You will find me sitting on one of the benches that are on the sides of the entrance (on the outside). He concludes by asking Yehuda to write back and let him know if the time to meet is convenient.

Moshe Sharett (Shertok; 18941965) was an Israeli statesman and Zionist leader. Sharett was born in Kherson, Ukraine. He was the oldest son of Ya'akov Shertok, a member of the Bilu movement who settled in Erez Israel at the beginning of the 1880s, but who could not endure the difficult conditions and returned to Russia. Moshe grew up in a Zionist atmosphere and studied Hebrew from childhood. In 1906 Ya'akov Shertok resettled with his family in Palestine first in the Arab village of Ayn Sniya in the Samarian Hills, where Moshe learned Arabic and gained a close insight into the life and customs of the Arab villagers. To enable his children to obtain a good Hebrew education, Shertok moved to Jaffa in 1908. Ya'akov Shertok was one of the founders of the Ahuzat Bayit quarter, the nucleus from which Tel Aviv grew, and Moshe joined the first class of the Herzliyyah Gymnasiah (high school). While he was still at school his father died, and Moshe helped to keep the family by giving private lessons in Hebrew, Turkish, and Arabic. With his classmates Eliyahu Golomb and Dov Hos (who married Sharett's sisters, Adah and Rivkah, respectively), David Hacohen, and other high school students, he established close ties with the pioneers of the Second Aliyah. After graduating from high school, he went to Constantinople to study law, and after the outbreak of World War I volunteered for the Turkish army with the rank of officer. Because of his knowledge of languages he was posted to the staff of the commander of the German army operating in Turkey as an interpreter.

At the end of the war Shertok returned to Palestine and joined Ahdut ha-Avodah when it was founded in 1919, becoming a close associate of Berl Katznelson. In 1920 he went to England to study at the London School of Economics, where one of his teachers was Harold Laski, and was active in the British Po'alei Zion movement. When preparations were being made for the publication of the labor daily Davar in 1925, he returned home and was nominated by the editor, Berl Katznelson, as his deputy. In 1931 he was appointed secretary of the Jewish Agency's political department on the proposal of its head, Chaim Arlosoroff. At the 18th Zionist Congress in 1933, after Arlosoroff's murder, Shertok was elected to succeed him. As head of the political department, a post he held until the establishment of the State of Israel, he was responsible for day-to-day contacts with the British Mandatory authorities, the preparation of the Jewish case for presentation to the various British commissions of inquiry, and a wide range of activities in the field of information and public relations. It was on his initiative that the Jewish Supernumerary Police were established during the Arab riots of 193639; he led the movement for recruitment to the British army during World War II; and he played a decisive part in the establishment of the Jewish Brigade. On "Black Saturday" (June 29, 1946) he was arrested by the British together with other leaders of the Jewish Agency and the yishuv, and detained for four months at the Latrun camp. In 1947 he led the struggle for the approval of the UNSCOP partition proposals (see Palestine Inquiry Commissions and Palestine, Partition) at the UN General Assembly and conducted a ramified and intensive diplomatic effort to achieve the two-thirds majority in the historic vote of November 29.

On the establishment of the State of Israel he became its first foreign minister and changed his name to Sharett. In January 1954, on David Ben-Gurion's temporary retirement, Sharett succeeded him as prime minister, retaining the foreign affairs portfolio. When Ben-Gurion resumed his post at the head of the government in November 1955, Sharett continued to serve as foreign minister, but growing differences between the two men led to his resignation in 1956. In 1960 he was elected chairman of the Executive of the Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency and devoted his last years mainly to Zionist activity, party work in Mapai, and literary interests, especially as chairman of Am Oved (the publishing house). In the course of the intense controversies within Mapai during this period, he was one of Ben-Gurion's principal opponents over the Lavon Affair and other matters. Sharett died in Jerusalem and was buried in the Old Cemetery in Tel Aviv.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
England:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
History:    Checked
Other:    Zionism
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica