Joseph Baratz

Baratz headshot
Born in Coșnița (then in Ukraine, now in Moldova), Joseph Baratz (1890-1968) was educated at a cheder and joined the Young Zion movement in Chișinău. At age 16, he immigrated to Ottoman-controlled Palestine, worked in agriculture in Petah Tikva and Rehovot, as a stone cutter in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Atlit, and as a farmer in Zikhron Ya’akov and at Um Juni near the south shore of the Sea of Galilee in 1910 where he was a member of the group that founded Degania, known in Israel as “the mother of kibbutzim,” in 1920.

Baratz was sent abroad as an emissary, to Russia in 1919, the United States in 1921 and Austria in 1934. He became a member of the central committee of the Haganah, a member of the Assembly of Representatives and was a leading figure in the Ha-Po’el ha-
a’ir party and later in Mapai, opening the founding conference of the Histadrut in Haifa in 1920. Baratz served in the British Army during World War II and became chairman of the Israel Soldiers’ Aid Committee in 1948. In 1949 he was elected to Israel’s first Knesset on the Mapai list.

His books include
A Village by the Jordan: the Story of Degania (1954) which appeared in 13 languages, and Im ayyaleinu (“With Our Soldiers,” 1945).

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A Village by the Jordan eBook cover 6-9