Peretz Shlomo-Fritz Bernstein

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Peretz Shlomo-Fritz Bernstein

Hebrew: Peretz Shlomo-Fritz Bernstein, פרץ ברנשטיין
Birthplace: Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany
Death: Died in Israel
Place of Burial: Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Bernstein
Husband of Mrs. Bernstein and Adolphine Vigeveno
Father of David Saraph (Born: Bernstein); <private> Andreson (Bernstein); Yehudit Ben-Uri and <private> Inbar (Born: Bernstein)

Occupation: Minister of Commerce and Industry, Israel, Head of Zionim Klaliim שר המסחר והתעשייה, ראש מפלגת הציונים הכלליים
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Peretz Shlomo-Fritz Bernstein

Peretz Bernstein

Peretz Bernstein (Hebrew: פרץ ברנשטיין‎, born Shlomo Fritz Bernstein on 12 June 1890, died 21 March 1971) was a Zionist activist and Israeli politician and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.


After being born in the German town of Meiningen, Bernstein was fortunate to decide to leave Germany before the First World War, when as a Jew he was refused entry to the officer reserve after army service. He moved to the Netherlands where he worked in the grain trade. In 1917 he joined the Zionist Organisation, serving as secretary and board member. In 1925 he became editor-in-chief of a Zionist weekly, a role he held until 1935, and between 1930 and 1934 served as the Zionist Organisation's president.

He emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1936, and became editor of the HaBoker newspaper. He joined the Jewish Agency, and became a board member, serving as director of its economics department between 1946 and 1948.

Bernstein was one of the people to sign Israel's declaration of independence on 14 May 1948, and was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry in the provisional government.

He was elected to the first Knesset in 1949 as a member of the General Zionists, but lost his place in the cabinet. Re-elected in 1951, he returned to the cabinet as Minister of Trade and Industry in the fourth and fifth governments. Bernstein also stood as a candidate in the Knesset's election for president in 1952, but withdrew after the second round of voting, having come a distant second to eventual winner Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.

Bernstein was returned to the Knesset in elections in 1955, 1959, but did not regain his cabinet position. In 1961 the General Zionists merged with the Progressive Party to form the Liberal Party and Bernstein was elected one of its two presidents. He was re-elected to the Knesset later that year and oversaw the alliance with Menachem Begin's Herut to form Gahal. In 1963 he ran again for president, but lost by 67-33 to Zalman Shazar. Bernstein lost his seat in the 1965 elections and died in 1971.

Knesset Terms

Knesset 1 - 14.2.1949 - 20.8.1951

Knesset 2 - 20.8.1951 - 15.8.1955

Knesset 3 - 15.8.1955 - 30.11.1959

Knesset 4 - 30.11.1959 - 4.9.1961

Knesset 5 - 4.9.1961 - 22.11.1965

Roles in the Government

Knesset 2

Govt. 4 Minister of Trade and Industry

Govt. 5 Minister of Trade and Industry

Public Activities

- Worked in the Grain Trade in Holland

- In 1917 joined the Zionist Organization in Holland

- Served as Secretary and Member of the Board and in 1930-1934 served as President

- Editor in Chief of a Zionist Weekly (1925-1935)

- Editor of “HaBoker” newspaper

- Member of the Board of the Jewish Agency and Director of the Economics Department, 1946-1948

- Member of the Provisional State Council as well as the Interim Government

- When the Liberal Party was created in 1965 he was elected one of its two Presidents


Anti-Semitism as a Social Phenomenon (1926 in German,1951 in English, 1980 in Hebrew)

Published pamphlets in Dutch and German on Zionist issues

Articles in Hebrew in “HaBoker”

Biography: edited by Yosef Nadava: “The Book of Peretz Bernstein” (1962) (Heb)

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Peretz Shlomo-Fritz Bernstein's Timeline

June 12, 1890
Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany
October 1914
Age 24
May 14, 1948
- March 8, 1949
Age 57
Tel Aviv, Israel

Provisional government of Israel
May 14, 1948 - March 8, 1949

David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense

See Photo

In photo, left to right: Eliezer Kaplan, Minister of Finance; Yitzhak Greenbaum, Minister of the Interior; Bechor Sharon Shitrit, Minister of Police and Minorities; David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense; Ze'ev Sharef, Cabinet Secretary; Felix Rosenblueth, Minister of Justice; Moshe Shapira, Minister of Immigration and Health; Yitzhak Meir Levin, Minister of Social Welfare; Yehuda Maimon (Fishman), Minister of Religious Affairs and War Casualties; Peretz Bernstein, Minister of Trade, Industry and Supplies.

Missing from photo: Mordechai Bentov, Minister of Labor and Construction; Aharon Zisling, Minister of Agriculture; David Remez, Minister of Transport; Moshe Shertok, Foreign Ministery.

חברים בממשלה הזמנית
14/5/1948 - 10/3/1949
בזמן מועצת המדינה הזמנית

ראש ממשלה דוד בן-גוריון
שר האוצר אליעזר קפלן
שר הביטחון דוד בן-גוריון
שר הבריאות חיים-משה שפירא
שר הדתות ולנפגעי מלחמה יהודה לייב מימון
שר החוץ משה שרת
שר החקלאות אהרן ציזלינג
שר המסחר והתעשייה פרץ ברנשטיין
שר המשטרה בכור-שלום שטרית
שר המשפטים פנחס רוזן
שר הסעד יצחק-מאיר לוין
שר העבודה והבינוי מרדכי בנטוב
שר העלייה חיים-משה שפירא
שר הפנים יצחק גרינבוים (לא חבר כנסת)
שר התחבורה דוד רמז

January 26, 1954
- June 29, 1955
Age 63
Jerusalem, Israel

Fifth government of Israel
January 26, 1954 - June 29, 1955

Moshe Sharett, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

See photo.

In photo, right to left - seated: Peretz Bernstein, Minister of Trade and Industry; Moshe Sharett, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister; Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Second President; Golda Meir, Minister of Labor

Standing: Yosef Burg, Minister of Posts; Moshe Shapira, Minister of Religious Affairs and Welfare; Behor Shalom Shitrit, Minister of Police; Peretz Naftali, Minister of Agriculture; Dov Yosef, Minister of Development; Yosef Serlin, Minister of Health; Yosef Sapir, Minister of Transport; Ben-Zion Dinur, Minister of Education and Culture; Pinhas Lavon, Minister of Defense; Levi Eshkol, Minister of Finance

Missing in photo: Israel Rokach, Minister of Interior; Pinhas Rosen, Minister of Justice; Zalman Aranne, Minister without Portfolio.

חברים בממשלה ה - 5
26/1/1954 - 29/6/1955
בכנסת השנייה

ראש ממשלה משה שרת
שר האוצר לוי אשכול
שר הביטחון פנחס לבון (עד ה - 21.2.1955)
דוד בן-גוריון (מה - 21.2.1955)
שר הבריאות יוסף סרלין
שר הדואר יוסף בורג
שר הדתות חיים-משה שפירא
שר החוץ משה שרת
שר החינוך והתרבות בן-ציון דינור (לא חבר כנסת)
סגן שר החינוך והתרבות קלמן כהנא
שר החקלאות פרץ נפתלי
שר המסחר והתעשייה פרץ ברנשטיין
סגן שר המסחר והתעשייה זלמן סוזאיב
שר המשטרה בכור-שלום שטרית
שר המשפטים פנחס רוזן
שר הסעד חיים-משה שפירא
שרת העבודה גולדה מאיר
שר הפיתוח דב יוסף
שר הפנים ישראל רוקח
שר התחבורה יוסף ספיר
שר בלי תיק זלמן ארן

August 10, 1962
Age 72
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel
March 21, 1971
Age 80
March 1971
Age 80