Israel StoryProduced in partnership with ToI

Signed, Sealed, Delivered? Mordechai Schattner

Our new series – a deep dive into Megillat Ha’Atzmaut, or the Declaration of Independence – continues with an ardent socialist who knew how to compromise

Mordechai Shattner and his daughter, Rachel Ofra Eliyahu Schattner (image courtesy of family)
Mordechai Shattner and his daughter, Rachel Ofra Eliyahu Schattner (image courtesy of family)

Mordechai Schattner was born in Eastern Galicia – then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – in 1904. He was a student activist in Zionist movements such as the socialist Young Guard, or HaShomer HaTzair, and HeChalutz, The Pioneer. He made aliyah in 1925, and helped establish Kibbutz Ein Harod, in the Jezreel Valley.

It was there that he became a Labor Party mover-and-shaker, and was ultimately dispatched to pre-war Europe, where he had dealings with the heads of the Nazi regime, including Adolf Eichmann.

After returning to Mandate Palestine, he was elected to the Va’ad HaLeumi, the Jewish National Council, and worked primarily on matters of national infrastructure.

After signing the Declaration of Independence, he served in a series of financial posts – as a representative of the Department of Treasury in Jerusalem, as the head of governmental real estate and infrastructure development agencies, and as the man in charge of the Unit for Unclaimed Property. He was also one of the six founders of Yad Vashem, the National Holocaust Museum, the driving force behind the creation of the town of Nazareth Illit in the Galilee and the Wingate Sports Center, and a member of the committee that selected Israel’s first Supreme Court justices.

He died in 1964, at the age of sixty.

The end song is Po Ein Harod (lyrics – Aharon Zeev Ben-Yishai, music – Yariv Ezrachi, arrangement – Zahi Fodor), performed by Dudu Elharar (Licensed by Israel Story through Acum).

Episode transcript:

About Israel Story: Israel Story is the award-winning podcast that tells extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. Often called “the Israeli ‘This American Life,’” we bring you quirky, unpredictable, interesting and moving stories about a place we all think we know a lot about, but really don’t. Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

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