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Moshe Sharett ( , born Moshe Shertok (Hebrew: משה שרתוק) on 10 October 1894, died 7 July 1965) was the second Prime Minister of Israel (1953-1955), serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms.


Early life

Born in Khersonmarker in the Russian Empiremarker (today in Ukrainemarker), Sharett emigrated to Ottoman-controlled Palestine in 1906. In 1910 his family moved to Jaffamarker, and they became one of the founding families of Tel Avivmarker. He graduated from the first class of the Herzliya Hebrew High Schoolmarker. He then went off to Istanbulmarker to study law, but his time there was cut short because of his service in the Turkish army as an interpreter.

Post-World War I

After the war he worked as an Arab affairs and land purchase agent for the Palestine Jewish Community's Representative Council. He also became a member of Ahdut Ha'Avoda and later of Mapai. In 1922 he went to the London School of Economicsmarker, and while there he actively edited the "Workers of Zion". He then edited the Davar newspaper from 1925 until 1931. In 1931, after returning to Palestine, he became the secretary of the Jewish Agency's political department. In 1933 he became the head of the Jewish Agency, and he held that position until the formation on Israel.

Israeli independence

Sharett was one of the signatories of Israel's Declaration of Independence. He was first elected to the Knessetmarker in 1949, and served as Israel's first Minister of Foreign Affairs. In this role he established diplomatic relations with dozens of nations, and got Israel into the UN. He held this role until 1956.

In the debate on how to deal with the increasing infiltration of fedayeen across the borders in the years leading to the 1956 Suez Crisis, Sharett was skeptical of retaliatory operations.

Sharrett met with Pius XII in 1952 in an attempt to improve relations with the Holy See, although this was to no avail.

In December 1953 David Ben-Gurion retired from politics (temporarily as it turned out), and Sharett was elected to take his place. During his time as prime minister the Palestinian-Israeli conflict intensified and the Lavon Affair occurred. As a result David Ben-Gurion returned to the government as Defense Minister. At the next elections Ben Gurion replaced Sharett as head of the list and became prime minister.


After stepping down as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sharett retired. During his retirement he became chairman of Am Oved publishing house, Chairman of Beit Berl College, and Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. He died in 1965 and was buried in Tel Aviv's Trumpeldor Cemetery.


Moshe Sharett on 20 NIS banknote

Sharett wrote personal diaries, which were published posthumusly. His son Yaakov founded an Institute for his heritage. Many cities have streets and neighborhoods named after him.Since 1987, Sharett has appeared on the 20 NIS bills. The bill first featured Sharett, with the names of his books in small print, and with a small image of him presenting the Israeli flag to the United Nations in 1949. On the back of the bill, there was an image of the Herzliya Hebrew High School, from which he graduated. In 1998 the bill went through a graphic revision, the list of Sharett's books on the front side was replaced by part of Sharett's 1949 speech in the UN. The back side now features an image of Jewish Brigade volunteers, part of a speech by Sharett on the radio after visiting the Brigade in Italymarker, and the list of his books in small print.


  • Livia Rokach: Israel's Sacred Terrorism: A Study Based on Moshe Sharett's Personal Diary and Other Documents (Belmont, Massachusetts: Association of Arab American University Graduates, 1980; Third Edition 1986), ISBN 0-937694-70-3. See External Links, below.
  • Gabriel Sheffer: Moshe Sharett: Biography of a Political Moderate. (New York: Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press, 1996), ISBN 0-19-827994-9.
Louise Fischer (ed.), Moshe Sharett: The Second Prime Minister, Selected Documents (1894-1965, (Israel State Archives, Jerusalem, 2009) ISBN 978-965-279-035-4


  1. Moshe Sharett Jewish Virtual Library
  2. Sharett, Moshe (Shertok; 1894-1965) Jewish Agency for Israel
  3. Israel-Vatican Diplomatic Relations
  4. Moshe Sharett MSN Encarta. Archived 2009-11-01.
  5. Moshe Sharett Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6. Knesset Member, Moshe Sharett Knesset website
  7. Erskine B. Childers, 'The Road to Suez- A study in Western-Arab relations'. Macgibbon & Kee, Bristol. 1962. page 184: Suggests Sharett's resignation as Foreign Minister on 18 June 1956 was due to his opposition to plans for military action against Egypt.
  8. Moshe Sharett The Second Prime Minister Prime Minister's Office
  9. Moshe Sharett Heritage Society

External links

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