Ehrlich, Simha

(1915-83)
   Born in Lublin, Poland, Ehrlich received a traditional Jewish education and at an early age became an active member of the General Zionist youth movement, immigrating to Palestine at the age of 19. During his first years in the country, he worked as an agricultural laborer and studied commerce and economics. He began his public and political career in the Union of General Zionists and rose through its ranks. He was elected to the Tel Aviv Municipal Council in 1955 and continued to serve on it until his election (see KNESSET ELECTIONS) to the seventh Knesset in 1969. In 1962, he became deputy mayor of Tel Aviv. He also became president of the national secretariat of the Israel Liberal Party and, later, chairman of its national secretariat and member of the Gahal executive committee.
   During the seventh and eighth Knessets, Ehrlich served on the Knesset Finance Committee and was chairman of its Subcommittee for the Defense Budget. In the ninth Knesset, he served as minister of finance from June 1977 until November 1979, when he was appointed deputy prime minister. While serving as finance minister, he declared a new economic plan designed to reduce the role of the government in the economy and apply free-market principles. The plan sought to modify the existing socialist system, check inflation, cut the foreign trade deficit, increase the growth rate, and promote foreign investment. On 5 August 1981, following his reelection to the 10th Knesset, he was sworn in as deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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