Israel Shochat

AZL flag holder TransparentIsrael Shochat (1886–1962) was a founder of and a key figure in Bar-Giora and Hashomer, one of the precursors of the Israel Defence Forces. Israel Shochat was born in 1886 in Lyskovo, in the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus). At age 18, he was involved in a Jewish militia group and in Poale Zion. He infiltrated Palestine with his brother, Eliezer, in 1904. Shochat shared his radical Marxist ideas with Alexander Zaïd who received them enthusiastically. Shochat represented Poalei Zion in the Zionist Congress of 1907, which took place in the Hague in the Netherlands. That same year Shochat was one of the 10 people who, in Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s Jaffa apartment, founded Bar-Giora, a clandestine organisation which sought to create an armed Jewish force. Shochat and Manya Wilbuszewicz, founding member of the land seizure at Sejera, got married In May 1908. The next year, Israel and Manya Shochat were among the leading founders of Hashomer. During 1914 in Ottoman Palestine the Shochats were found hiding weapons for the Hashomer organisation. They were deported but returned to Palestine in 1919, after attending the Poale Zion convention in Stockholm. In 1921 Manya Shochat raised several thousand dollars, which she sent to Israel Shochat where he oversaw the purchase and shipment of weapons to the then British-administered Palestine. In the years 1921–26, Israel Shochat was also on the Jewish National Council.

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