Born Yigal Paicovitch in Kfar Tavor in the Galilee, Yigal Allon (1918-1980) graduated from the Kadoorie Agricultural High School in 1937 and later studied at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His father had immigrated to Palestine in 1890 from Grodno (Lithuania, today Belarus) and his mother’s family had lived in Safed for generations.
Allon was a founder of Kibbutz Ginosar and commanded a field unit of the Haganah during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt. In 1941 he was one of the founding members of the Palmach, of which he became commander-in-chief in 1945. Allon led several major operations on all three fronts during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
After the end of his military career in 1950, Allon entered politics in a left-of-center party. He served in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, from 1955 until his death. Allon was Minister of Labour (1961-67), Deputy Prime Minister (1967–69) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Culture in Golda Meir’s government (1969-74). He was Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yitzhak Rabin’s government (1974-77).
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