AFSI Founder Zweibon, Ardent Zionist, Dies


Herbert Zweibon, a businessman and ardent Zionist who founded the Americans For a Safe Israel organization, died at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital on Jan. 19 after a brief, heart-related illness. He was 84.

Mr. Zweibon, a resident of Ardsley who headed the Z&R Management Corporation in Manhattan, founded AFSI in 1970 as an American counterpart to the Land of Israel movement, which opposes territorial concessions in a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

“It makes little difference to us whether the government of the United States or the government of Israel believe that they can somehow compromise with the Muslim community,” he said in a 2007 interview with The Jerusalem Post. “This just will not happen.”

“Herb Zweibon would tell the truth about Arabs who are against Israel, without worrying about political correctness or about the political consequences. There was no one else,” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. “He had a special love for and commitment to the Jews who lived in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and Gaza,” and would spend most of his time visiting those communities during his frequent visits to Israel, Klein said.

Mr. Zweibon was one of the first leaders of an American Jewish organization to cultivate the support of pro-Israel Evangelical Christians, Klein said.

A native of the Bronx, Mr. Zweibon attended the City College of New York and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Under his leadership, ASFI’s monthly Outpost magazine became a leading voice of its brand of Zionism, and the organization sponsored an annual essay contest for Israeli high school students and an annual memorial event for Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism.

“Herb was a righteous man, and he will be sorely missed,” said David Wilder, spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron. “Herb’s love for Israel, for the State of Israel, for Eretz Yisrael knew no limits.”

Mr. Zweibon is survived by his wife, Sheila; three sons, Kenny, Mark and Donald; and five grandchildren. n