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Moshe SharettBiography of a Political Moderate$
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Gabriel Sheffer

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279945

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198279945.001.0001

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The Sharett Legacy

The Sharett Legacy

(p.977) 33 The Sharett Legacy
Moshe Sharett

Gabriel Sheffer

Oxford University Press

Moshe Sharett belongs to the category of forgotten leaders. For about thirty years, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, he influenced the internal development and especially foreign relations of the Jewish community in Palestine, the Zionist movement, and later the State of Israel. He left behind a wealth of written materials in the form of a rich correspondence, numerous memoranda that can easily be found in the major archives in Israel and abroad, hundreds of transcripts of great speeches, a number of books, not to mention vastly informative and brilliantly written political and personal diaries. Nevertheless, for most Israelis, for younger Jews in the Diaspora, for the general public outside Israel, and also for many scholars, he still remains in a giant shadow, or, one might say, in a giant's shadow, that of his older, more charismatic, and aggressive colleague, Ben–Gurion. In retrospect it seems that Sharett's main political misfortune was that he lived and worked side by side with a leader of the calibre of Ben–Gurion. Indeed, many observers of Israeli politics, including those who have sympathized with Sharett's ideas and policies, have difficulties in specifically defining and evaluating his significant contributions, as well as his unique qualities as a leader, in comparison with his arch-rival, the greatly admired Ben–Gurion. The result is that while in reality Sharett did not act within Ben–Gurion's vast shadow, both his achievements and legacy have been overshadowed by those of his elder colleague and rival.

Keywords:   Sharett, forgotten leader, Israeli politics, Palestine, Zionist movement, State of Israel, Diaspora

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