BEN-AROYA, AVRAHAM


BEN-AROYA, AVRAHAM
BEN-AROYA, AVRAHAM (1887–1979), Greek socialist and one of the founders of the labor movements in Salonika and Macedonia. Born in Vidin, Bulgaria, Ben-Aroya was a teacher and in 1908 went to Salonika, then under Turkish rule, where he taught Bulgarian and worked as a printer. Already an enthusiastic socialist, Ben-Aroya found in Salonika's large Jewish working class a ready audience for his doctrines. While his views were close to those of the small revolutionary Bulgarian group, he was drawn to the exploited and unorganized Jewish workers in the city, especially the tobacco workers with whom he shared common interests. In 1909 he formed the Salonika workers' organization later known as the Federación Socialista Laboradera ("Socialist Workers' Federation"). Under Ben-Aroya's direction the Federation founded the first workers' newspaper in Turkey, El Journal del Laborador, and later a weekly Ladino newspaper, Solidarità Oberadera. After the Balkan war, Ben-Aroya joined with Greek socialists in Athens. He formed La Bursa del Laboro ("Jewish Syndicate Center") and was elected chairman of its executive. He was also a   leader of the Greek Socialist Party, but when the Party split in 1924 Ben-Aroya helped to found the Social Democratic Party and its newspaper The New Period (in Greek). Subsequently, Ben-Aroya published numerous political pamphlets including tracts on Social Democracy and the Jewish Question (Bulgarian) and The Workers' Movement in Turkey (Hebrew tr. 1910). In 1953 Aroya emigrated to Israel. Although bitterly opposed to Zionism for many years, the rise of Nazism and World War II changed his views, while his decision to emigrate to Israel reflected his disillusionment with socialism, which he had previously believed would resolve the Jewish question. (Baruch Uziel)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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