Eliezer Kaplan

Eliezer Kaplan (Hebrew: אליעזר קפלן‎; Belarusian: Эліэзер Каплан; 27 January 1891 – 13 July 1952) was a Zionist activist, Israeli politician, one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence and the country's first Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.

Eliezer Kaplan
Eliezer Kaplan
Date of birth27 January 1898
Place of birthMinsk, Russian Empire
Year of aliyah1923
Date of death13 July 1952 (aged 61)
Place of deathTel Aviv, Israel
Knessets1, 2
Faction represented in Knesset
Ministerial roles
1948–1952Minister of Finance
1949–1950Minister of Trade & Industry
1952Deputy Prime Minister
Zionist General Council, Jerusalem 1935
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Chairman of the National Committee, addresses the Zionist General Council Meeting in Jerusalem. From right to left: I. Rupaisen, Ben-Zion Mossinson, H. Farbstein, Nahum Sokolow, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Yosef Sprinzak, I. L. Goldberg, Shmaryahu Levin, Eliezer Kaplan (1935)


Born in Minsk in the Russian Empire (today in Belarus), Kaplan attended a Heder and high school in Łowicz. He joined the Socialist Zionist Party in 1905, and was one of the founders of the Youth of Zion – Renewal movement in 1908, elected secretary of its Minsk Region branch in 1912. He also helped found the Youth of Zion movement in Russia in 1912 and was a member of its central committee. In 1917, he graduated from a Moscow polytechnic as a building engineer.

In 1919, Kaplan was a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. The following year he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, and was involved in merging Youth of Zion with Hapoel Hatzair to form Hitachdut, and following his participation in the Conference of the Zionist Federation in London, was elected to the Zionist Executive Committee. A short while later he was sent to Berlin to run Hitachdut's world office.

Kaplan returned to Mandatory Palestine in 1923 and joined the Histadrut's Office of Public Works. A director of the technical department of the Tel Aviv municipality between 1923 and 1925, he was elected to Tel Aviv city council in 1925, remaining on the council until 1933. That year he joined the board of the Jewish Agency and served as its treasurer until 1948.

A member of the Assembly of Representatives, on 14 May 1948 Kaplan was one of the people to sign the Israeli declaration of independence, and was immediately appointed Minister of Finance in the provisional government. He was elected to the first Knesset as a member of Mapai, and retained the Finance Ministry post, also becoming Minister of Trade and Industry in Ben-Gurion's first government. In the second government the Trade and Industry portfolio was given to Yaakov Geri, but Kaplan remained Finance Minister.

He retained his seat and portfolio following the 1951 elections, and in June 1952 became the country's first Deputy Prime Minister. However, he died three weeks later.

The Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot built in 1953, the Kiryat Eliezer suburb of Netanya, the Eliezer neighbourhood of Kfar Saba, Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, and Kaplan Street in Jerusalem's Kiryat HaMemshala (government complex) were all named in his honour.

External links

Arrows in the Dark

Arrows in the Dark: David Ben-Gurion, the Yishuv Leadership and Rescue Attempts during the Holocaust is a book by Israeli historian Tuvia Friling dealing with the attitude toward the Holocaust of the leadership of the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. The book examines the leadership's attempts to rescue European Jews who were under threat, and the controversy that surrounds those efforts. The Hebrew edition of the book was published in 1998 and the English version in 2005.

Avraham Kalfon

Avraham Kalfon (Hebrew: אברהם כלפון‎, born 16 December 1900, died 4 July 1983) was an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Mapai between 1952 and 1955.

Bialik House

Bialik House (Hebrew: בית ביאליק‎) was the home of the Hebrew national poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik in the center of Tel Aviv, Israel, and is now used as a museum.

First government of Israel

The first government of Israel formed by David Ben-Gurion on 8 March 1949, a month and a half after the elections for the first Knesset. His Mapai party formed a coalition with the United Religious Front, the Progressive Party, the Sephardim and Oriental Communities and the Democratic List of Nazareth, and there were 12 ministers.

A notable piece of legislation enacted during the term of the first government was an educational law in 1949 which introduced compulsory schooling for all children between the ages of 5 to 14.Ben-Gurion resigned on 15 October 1950 after the United Religious Front objected to his demands that the Supply and Rationing Ministry be closed and a businessman appointed as Minister for Trade and Industry, as well as issues over education in the new immigrant camps.

Kaplan (surname)

Kaplan is a surname that is of ultimately Latin origins. There is also a historically unrelated surname in modern Turkey.

Kaplan Medical Center

Kaplan Medical Center (Hebrew: מרכז רפואי קפלן‎, Merkaz Refu'i Kaplan) is a hospital in Rehovot, Israel, located in the south of the city next to Bilu Junction.

Kaplan Street

Kaplan Street is a major thoroughfare in central Tel Aviv, Israel, running from the Azrieli Center interchange on its eastern edge, to Ibn Gabirol Street on its western edge. Named after Eliezer Kaplan, an important Israeli politician, the street connects the city center to the Ayalon Highway, and is one of the busiest streets in the city. Right next to it, lies the old Templer neighborhood of Sarona, which is undergoing a major renovation programme, in addition to the street itself, which has been widened in recent years.It has been reported that elements of the Israeli Intelligence Community had offices on this street.

Kiryat Eliezer Kaplan Industrial Zone

Kiryat Eliezer Kaplan (Hebrew: קריית אליעזר קפלן‎) is a neighborhood in Netanya, Israel. It is named for the first Minister of Finance of Israel, Eliezer Kaplan.

(Under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Netanya, it became an industrial zone. Now it is primarily referred to as the old industrial zone of Netanya after the creation of Kiryat Sapir just a stone's throw away.

Levi Eshkol

Levi Eshkol (Hebrew: לֵוִי אֶשְׁכּוֹל; listen , born Levi Yitzhak Shkolnik (Hebrew: לוי יצחק שקולניק)‎ 25 October 1895 – 26 February 1969) was an Israeli statesman who served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. A founder of the Israeli Labor Party, he served in numerous senior roles, including Minister of Defense (1963–1967) and Minister of Finance (1952–1963).

Eshkol was first appointed as Prime Minister following the resignation of David Ben-Gurion. He then led the party in the elections to the Sixth Knesset (1965) and won, remaining in office for six consecutive years. Shortly after taking office, he made several significant changes, among them the annulment of military rule over Israeli Arabs and a successful journey to the United States, being the first Israeli leader to be formally invited to the White House. His relations with American President Lyndon B. Johnson greatly affected Israel–United States relations and later on the Six-Day War.

Eshkol was active in the Zionist movement from a young age, immigrating to Ottoman Palestine in 1914 and working in agriculture. He was among the founders of the major institutions of the Yishuv, most importantly the Histadrut and Haganah. He was treasurer of Hapoel Hatzair political party and treasurer of the Agricultural Center. In 1929 he was elected as chairman of the settlement committee within the Zionist Congress, taking a leading role in enabling conditions for new construction. In 1937 he founded Mekorot water company and was its director until 1951. Simultaneously, he held positions at the Haganah, at Mapai and as chairman of Tel Aviv Workers' Council. In 1948-1949 he was Director General of the Ministry of Defense and from 1948–1963 he was chairman of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency. Elected to the Second Knesset in 1951, he was soon thereafter appointed to key government roles.

He led the Israeli government during and after the Six-Day War and was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.

List of members of the second Knesset

The 120 members of the second Knesset were elected on 30 July 1951. The breakdown by party was as follows:

Mapai: 45

General Zionists: 20

Mapam: 15

Hapoel HaMizrachi: 8

Herut: 8

Maki: 5

Progressive Party: 4

Democratic List for Israeli Arabs: 3

Agudat Yisrael: 3

Sephardim and Oriental Communities: 2

Poalei Agudat Yisrael: 2

Mizrachi: 2

Progress and Work: 1

Yemenite Association: 1

Agriculture and Development: 1

Ministry of Economy (Israel)

The Ministry of Economy (Hebrew: משרד הכלכלה‎, Misrad HaKalkala) is a ministry of the Israeli government that oversees commerce, industry and labor in Israel.

Ministry of Finance (Israel)

The Israeli Ministry of Finance (Hebrew: מִשְׂרַד הָאוֹצָר, Misrad HaOtzar) is the main economic ministry of the Government of Israel. It is responsible for planning and implementing the Government's overall economic policy, as well as setting targets for fiscal policy, preparing the draft State Budget and monitoring implementation of the approved budget. The ministry also manages state revenues, collects direct and indirect taxes and promotes nonresident investments. In addition, the ministry conducts economic relations with foreign governments, economic organizations and the international community. The ministry regulates the state owned companies sector and the capital market, savings and insurance. The ministry is also responsible for auxiliary units for government ministries in motor vehicles, computer services, printing and government procurement.The Finance Ministry is headed by the Finance Minister, currently Moshe Kahlon. There is also occasionally a Deputy Minister of Finance. The permanent staff of the ministry include the Director General, the department directors responsible for the Budget Department, the Accountant General, the Wage and Labor Agreements Department and the accreditation units (the Tax Authority, the Government Companies Authority, the Capital Market, Insurance, and Savings Authority and the Governmental Printer).

Provisional State Council

The Provisional State Council (Hebrew: מועצת המדינה הזמנית, Moetzet HaMedina HaZmanit) was the temporary legislature of Israel from shortly before independence until the election of the first Knesset in January 1949. It took the place of His Majesty's Privy Council, through which the British Government had legislated for Mandatory Palestine.

Provisional government of Israel

The provisional government of Israel (Hebrew: הַמֶמְשָׁלָה הַזְמַנִּית, translit. HaMemshela HaZmanit) was the temporary cabinet which governed the Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine, and later the newly established State of Israel, until the formation of the first government in March 1949 following the first Knesset elections in January that year.

With the British Mandate of Palestine scheduled to come to an end on 15 May 1948, the governing body of the Jewish community, the Jewish National Council (JNC), on 2 March 1948 began work on organization of a Jewish provisional government. On 12 April 1948 it formed the Minhelet HaAm (Hebrew: מנהלת העם, lit. People's Administration), all of its members being drawn from Moetzet HaAm (People's Council), the temporary legislative body set up at the same time. The departmental structure of the JNC served as a basis for the interim government ministries.

On 12 May, Minhelet HaAm convened to vote on whether to declare independence. Three of the thirteen members were missing, with Yehuda Leib Maimon and Yitzhak Gruenbaum being stuck in Jerusalem, whilst Yitzhak-Meir Levin was in the United States. The meeting started at 1:45 in the afternoon and ended after midnight. The decision was between accepting the American proposal for a truce, or declaring independence. The latter option was put to a vote, with six of the ten members present supporting it:

For: David Ben-Gurion, Mordechai Bentov, Moshe Sharett (Mapai), Peretz Bernstein (General Zionists), Haim-Moshe Shapira (Hapoel HaMizrachi), Aharon Zisling (Mapam).

Against: Eliezer Kaplan, David Remez (Mapai), Pinchas Rosen (New Aliyah Party), Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit (Sephardim and Oriental Communities).On 14 May, the day Israel declared independence, Minhelet HaAm became the Provisional government, whilst Moetzet HaAm became the Provisional State Council. The Provisional government was promptly recognised by the United States as the de facto authority of Israel, followed by Iran (which had voted against the UN partition plan), Guatemala, Iceland, Nicaragua, Romania, and Uruguay. The Soviet Union granted official recognition to Israel on 17 May 1948, followed by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, and South Africa. The United States extended de jure recognition after the first Israeli election, on 31 January 1949.

Second government of Israel

The second government of Israel was formed during the first Knesset. David Ben-Gurion made an attempt to form a minority government consisting of Mapai and Sephardim and Oriental Communities on 17 October, but it was not approved by the Knesset. Two days later President Chaim Weizmann asked Progressive Party leader Pinchas Rosen to form a government, but it was Ben-Gurion who finally managed to do so on 1 November 1950. The coalition partners were the same as in the first government: Mapai, the United Religious Front, the Progressive Party, the Sephardim and Oriental Communities and the Democratic List of Nazareth.

There was a slight reshuffle in the cabinet; David Remez moved from the Transportation ministry to Education, replacing Zalman Shazar (who was left out of the new cabinet), Dov Yosef replaced Remez as Minister of Transportation, whilst Pinhas Lavon replaced Yosef in as Minister of Agriculture. Ya'akov Geri was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry despite not being a Member of the Knesset. There was also a new Deputy Minister in the Transportation ministry.

The government resigned on 14 February 1951 after the Knesset had rejected David Remez's proposals on the registration of schoolchildren. Elections were held on 30 July 1951.

Third government of Israel

The third government of Israel was formed by David Ben-Gurion on 8 October 1951, more than two months after the elections. His Mapai party formed a coalition with Mizrachi, Hapoel HaMizrachi, Agudat Yisrael, Poalei Agudat Yisrael and the three Israeli Arab parties, the Democratic List for Israeli Arabs, Progress and Work and Agriculture and Development. There were 15 ministers.

Agudat Yisrael and Poalei Agudat Yisrael left the coalition on 23 September 1952 (though Kalman Kahana remained a deputy minister) shortly after disagreements over the conscription of women into the IDF. This left the government with only 60 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.The government resigned on 19 December 1952 due to a dispute with the religious parties over religious education.

Two ministers, Eliezer Kaplan and David-Zvi Pinkas died in office.

1 Died in office

2 Although Dinor was not an MK in the second Knesset, he had been an MK for Mapai in the first Knesset.

Transfer Committee

The Transfer Committee was set up, unofficially, by non-Cabinet members of the first government of Israel in May 1948, with the aim of overseeing the expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their towns and villages, and preventing their return. The extent to which the committee acted with the knowledge of the prime minister and the Cabinet is a matter of scholarly debate.

Yosef Sprinzak

Yosef Sprinzak (Hebrew: יוסף שפרינצק; 8 December 1885 – 28 January 1959) was a leading Zionist activist in the first half of the 20th century, an Israeli politician, and the first Speaker of the Knesset, a role he held from 1949 until his death in 1959.


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