JOSEPHTHAL, GIORA (Georg Josephsthal; 1912–1962), Israeli social worker and labor leader. Born in Nuremberg, Germany, to an assimilated family, Josephthal joined the pioneering Zionist youth movement during the period of the Nazi rise to power. As a social worker in the Munich Jewish community, he established the Berufsumschichtung, a professional training project for Jewish youth preparing for settlement in Palestine. In 1934 he became director of the *Youth Aliyah office in Berlin and two years later secretary of the *He-Ḥalutz movement in Germany. He went to Palestine in 1938 and led the group that established kibbutz Gal-Ed in 1945. In World War II he joined the British army. After the war he began organizing the *Jewish Agency's Absorption Department and was successively director of the Absorption Department and treasurer of the Jewish Agency's executive. In 1952 he participated in the *reparations negotiations with West Germany. In 1956 he became general secretary of *Mapai and, three years later, was elected to the Fourth *Knesset and appointed minister of labor. In this capacity he continued the work of absorption through the building of housing projects and the development of technical training and an employment service. His last post was that of minister of housing and development. His wife, SENTA (1912– ), was born in Fuerth, Germany, settled in Palestine in 1938, and was also a founding member of kibbutz Gal-Ed. She served in various positions in the *Histadrut and the Ihud ha-Kevuẓot ve-ha-Kibbutzim and was a member of the Third Knesset.
B. Halpern and S. Wurm, The Responsible Attitude, Life and Work of Giora Josephthal (1966); H. Laufbahn, Ish Yoẓe el Eḥav (1968).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.