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Moshe Sneh (Kleinbaum) (1909 – 1972)

Moshe Sneh was a publicist and a member of the First Knesset. He was born in Radzyn, Poland and completed his academic studies in the faculty of medicine of Warsaw University. He was active with the World Zionist Organization and elected as Chairman of the Association of Polish Zionists. Sneh was identified with the radical left wing of the General Zionists, and served as a delegate to several Zionist Congresses. In the years 1935 and 1936, he served with the rank of Captain in the Polish Army’s Medical Corps and was a member during the early stages of the Second World War.

Sneh made Aliyah in 1940 and became a member of the Hagana’s High Command and also served as its head of national staff. In this capacity he took a part in the struggle against the British Mandate Government and organized “Aliyah Bet” from Paris. In July 1946, after the Hagana stopped its armed resistance to the British and the Zionist Congress did not seek to resume it, Sneh retired as the Head of the Hagana. From 1945 through 1948 he was a member of the executive board of the Jewish Agency and headed its departments of European Politics and Aliyah Bet. During this time, he believed that a Jewish state must be established with the support of the Soviet Union.

Following the establishment of the State of Israel, he joined the United Workers’ Party and headed its left-wing camp, which split from the party in 1954 and merged with the Israeli Communist Party. In 1965, the Israeli Communist Party dissolved and several of its members formed the New Communist List; Sneh remained with the party. After the Six Day War he severely criticized the Soviet Union’s anti-Israeli policy and promoted mutual negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries, as well as the Palestinians’ right for self-definition.

Sneh was a Knesset member from the First Knesset (1949) through the Fifth Knesset (1965). He also served a partial tenure in the Seventh Knesset. Between 1965 and 1969 he was chief editor of the Israel Communist Party’s daily newspaper, Kol Ha’am.

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