JTA — Jacques Torczyner, a former national president of the Zionist Organization of America, has died.
Torczyner, a leader in the Zionist movement in the United States and around the world, died March 7 in Saratoga, Calif. He was 98.
He served as ZOA president from 1968 to 1973, and was emeritus president until his death.
“Jacques Torczyner was a tireless and galvanizing figure in American Zionism,” said Morton Klein, ZOA’s national president, in a statement. “He was a leading and active member of every important Zionist committee, flying to Israel regularly.”
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Torczyner escaped the Nazis and came to the United States in 1941.
A founding member at the behest of David Ben Gurion of the Friends of the Haganah to support the Jewish forces in British Mandate Palestine, Torczyner worked closely with Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver as he pressed for support for the establishment of a Jewish state from the American Jewish community, American politicians and the United Nations.
From 1974 to 1977 he was chairman of the American section of the World Jewish Congress. He was a member of the executive of the World Zionist Organization from 1972 until 1998, heading up its foreign relations department and the Herzl Institute.
Torczyner was appointed a member of the American UNESCO Committee and served on the Holderman Committee, which recommended that the United States leave UNESCO. He later served as an adviser to UNESCO director general Federico Mayor.