- Jacob (Vitkin) Zerubavel (1886-1967), leader of the Zionist Poale Zion movement. Born in Poltava, Ukraine, Zerubavel joined the Poale Zion in his youth and in 1906 was elected to its executive board. After helping socialist Zionist ideologue Ber Borochov publish an underground newspaper, Zerubavel moved to Vilna, where he was imprisoned for 18 months. Upon his release he moved to Lvov. There, he worked on the editorial board of a Jewish newspaper called Der Yiddisher Arbeter. In 1910 Zerubavel immigrated to Palestine, where he edited the Hebrew newspaper of the Poale Zion movement, Heachdut, together with Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and David Ben-Gurion. During World War I Zerubavel was sentenced to prison by the Turkish authorities for criticizing their treatment of the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine]. He managed to escape and fled to America in 1915, where he again worked on the editorial board of a Poale Zion newspaper. When the Russian Revolution took place in 1917, Zerubavel returned to Russia and became a member of the National Jewish Council of the Ukraine. He spent the next decade and a half (1918-1935) in Poland, where he numbered among the leaders of the Poale Zion and later, of the Left Poale Zion. He also worked as an editor of a Yiddish newspaper and served on the Warsaw community council Though he visited Palestine at this time, the British would not allow him to resettle there until 1935. Once back in the Yishuv, Zerubavel took up publishing Yiddish books and journals. He also served on the executive committee of the Histadrut [Labor council]. During World War II Zerubavel was a member of the Yishuv's rescue committee. In 1948 he became a member of the Zionist Executive and helped forge the MAPAM party. From 1951 he directed the Histadrut's labor archive. He continued to write and edit in Hebrew and Yiddish. Among his published works are two volumes of memoirs, published in 1960 and 1966.
[Source: Encyclopedia Judaica 16:999-1000]