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Remez (Drabkin), Moshe David

REMEZ (Drabkin), MOSHE DAVID (1886–1951), labor leader in the Jewish yishuv and Israeli politician, member of the First Knesset. Born in Kopys in the Mohilev district in Belorussia, Remez attended a ḥeder, and then studied at a gymnasium in the town of Yeltz. He was a member of *Po'alei Zion in his youth, and published Hebrew poems in Ha-Shilo'aḥ, then edited by Ḥayyim Naḥman *Bialik. He also served for a while as a teacher. After studying law in Constantinople, Remez settled in Palestine in 1913, where he worked as an agricultural laborer for five years in Ben-Shemen, Be'er Toviyyah, Karkur, and Zikhron Ya'akov. After World War I, he became one of the leaders of *Aḥdut ha-Avodah, and later of *Mapai, and was a key figure in the organizational and economic activities of the *Histadrut. In the years 1921–29 he headed the Public Works Office of the Histadrut, which later became *Solel Boneh, and served as secretary general of the Histadrut in the years 1935–44. Remez was chairman of the Va'ad Le'ummi from 1944 to 1948 and was one of the Jewish leaders arrested by the British authorities on June 29, 1946 ("Black Saturday"), spending several months in the Latrun detention camp. In 1948 he was appointed minister of transportation in the provisional government, and served in this position also in the first government formed by David *Ben-Gurion. In the second government he was appointed minister of education and culture, but he passed away in May 1951.

A linguist and writer, Remez introduced several new words into the Hebrew language, such as וֶתֶק (seniority); דַחְפּוֹר (bulldozer); רַמְזוֹר (traffic light). The housing complex of Ramat Remez in Haifa was named in his memory.

His only son, AHARON (1919–1994), served in the British Royal Air Force from 1942 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1951 was the first commander of the Israeli Air Force. He was a member of the Third Knesset. In 1965 he was appointed Israeli ambassador to Great Britain. In the years 1970–77 he was the head of the Israel Ports Authority, and in 1977–81 he served as chairman of the Airport Authority.


S. Erez, Tekufah Aḥat be-Ḥayyei David Remez 193445 (1977).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.