JERUSALEM (May. 21)
Shneor Zalman Shazar, veteran Zionist leader, was elected Israel’s third President by the Parliament today by a vote of 67 to 33 against Dr.Peretz Bernstein of the Liberal party. The Knesset poll was by a roll call vote with 2 members absent, seven abstaining and one place unfilled.
Born Shneor Zalman Rubashov in the town of Mir, in Russia, on October 6, 1889, In Shazar had a traditional Jewish upbringing. He attended the Academy of Jewish sciences at Leningrad, as well as the Universities of Freiburg, Strasbourg and Berlin. He came to Israel in 1924 and, from 1925 until 1948, served as editor of the daily “Davar.” In the forefront of the organizers of Israel’s labor movement, Mr. Shazar was instrumental in bringing about the merger of the various factions of that movement–Poalei Zion, Zeirei Zion and the Hitachdut.
For a time, he served as a member of the Israel delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and, from 1949 to 1950, as Minister of Education in the Israel Government. It was he who introduced the system of free universal compulsory education in Israel. In recent years Mr. Shazar has served on the Jewish Agency executive and as head of the Agency’s Department of Education and Culture in the Diaspora.
A man of wide interests, Mr. Shazar has written extensively on historical, political and literary subjects, including several books on biblical criticism, Judaica and reminiscences. He was awarded the Ussishkin Prize for his book, “Light of Personalities.”