Ben-Zvi, Yizhak

Ben-Zvi, Yizhak yĭtshˈhäk bĕn-tsvē [key], 1884–1963, president of Israel (1952–63), b. Russia, originally named Issac Shimshelevitz. A Zionist, he fled Russia in 1905 because of his activities in the Jewish self-defense movement and settled (1907) in Palestine. With David Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders he helped create the Jewish state. In 1952 he succeeded Chaim Weizmann as president of Israel; he was reelected in 1958 and again in 1962. He died in office in 1963. He was a historian and a scholar of note in the field of Jewish ethnology. His writings include The Moslem World and the Arab World (1937), The Exiled and the Redeemed (new ed. 1961), and The Hebrew Battalions: Letters (1969).

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