Zerach Warhaftig

Zerach Warhaftig


Date of birth = 2 February 1906
Place of birth = Volkovysk, Russian Empire
Year of Aliyah = 1947
Date of death = 26 September 2002
Knesset(s) = 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th,
7th, 8th, 9th
Party = National Religious Party
Former parties = United Religious Front,
Hapoel HaMizrachi
Gov't roles = Minister of Religions

Rabbi Dr. Zerach Warhaftig ( _he. זרח ורהפטיג, Yiddish: זרח ווארהאפטיק, also spelt Zerah Wahrhaftig, Zorach Warhaftig or Zérach Varhaftig, 2 February 1906 - 26 September 2002) was an Israeli lawyer and politician and a signatory of Israel's Declaration of Independence.


Warhaftig was born in Volkovysk in the Russian Empire (today Vaŭkavysk, Belarus) in 1906. He immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1947 and immediately got involved in politics. Initially he joined the Hapoel HaMizrachi party, a religious-zionist party, and was elected to the first Knesset as part of the United Religious Front, an alliance between Mizrachi, Hapoel HaMizrachi, Agudat Israel and Agudat Israel Workers. In 1948 he had also started lecturing in Jewish Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a role he maintained until 1963.

The party contended in the 1951 elections alone. Although it only won two seats, it was included in David Ben-Gurion's coalition, and Warhaftig was appointed Deputy Minister of Religions in the fourth government. In 1956, Hapoel HaMizrachi and Mizrachi merged to form the National Religious Party. Warhaftig led the party and retained his ministerial role until the end of the third Knesset.

After the 1961 elections (the fifth Knesset) he was appointed Minister of Religions, a position he held until 1974. In 1981 he left the Knesset.

Warhaftig was among the founders of Bar-Ilan University.

Literary works

*“A Constitution for Israel” an article in "Yavne Compilation: Political Problems in Israel" pgs 17-21, (Hebrew, April 1949)
*“On Rabbinical Judgments in Israel” (collected speeches) (Hebrew, 1956)
*“Legal Issues in the Talmud” (from lectures) (Hebrew, 1957)
*Editor with Shlomo Zeven: “Remembrance: a Torah Collection in Memory of Rabbi Yizhak HaLevi Herzog” (Hebrew, 1962)
*“Chattel in Jewish Law” (Hebrew, 1964)
*“Problems of State and Religion” (articles and speeches) (Hebrew, 1973)
*Edited: “Religion and State in Legislation: A Collection of Laws and Rulings” (Hebrew, 1973)
*“The Declaration of Independence and Orders for the Order of Government and the Judiciary (1948 and Problems of Religion and State” in "The Book of Shragai" (Hebrew, 1982)
*“Refugee and Remnant during the Holocaust” (Hebrew, 1984)
*“Researches in Jewish Law” (Hebrew, 1985)
*“A Constitution for Israel – Religion and State” (Hebrew, 1988)

ee also

*Members of the first Knesset
*Michael Dennis Rohan

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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