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Herzel Lifshitz was born in 1924 in Tel Aviv. His father was the son of a rabbi, a scion of the family of the Vilna Gaon, and so his acceptance of Zionism distanced him from his family.

Lifshitz says that his father was a delegate at the Zionist convention in Minsk in 1905, and that his close friends included prominent leaders such as Nahum Sokolow, Menachem Ussishkin, Yehiel Chelnov and Menachem Sheinkin.

He still has a picture of his father with leaders of the Zionist movement in Russia, among them Chaim Weizmann and Meir Dizengoff.

Lifshitz’s father immigrated to Palestine in 1922 and settled in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv. He says that at the time the name Herzl was very rare in the country, and in Tel Aviv in particular.

“Most of the children were named after deceased grandfathers or family members. In fact, as far as I recall, I was the only child in those years who was named after a Zionist activist,” he says.

Later in life Lifshitz became well known as a soccer player. At the time he met another player named Herzl Pritzner.

“He played on the British police team and because he was somewhat older than I he was Big Herzl and I was Little Herzl. But both of us were called ‘Herzi’ by our friends.”

Lifshitz, a retired Egged bus driver now involved in astrology, says he has read a lot about Herzl, the visionary of the state, and that he has great admiration for him. He also describes himself as a strong Zionist to this day.