Mordechai Namir Dead at 78

Funeral services were held yesterday at the old Tel Aviv cemetery for Mordechai Namir who died Saturday at his home at the age of 78. The former Mayor of Tel Aviv, secretary general of Histadrut and Minister of Labor was eulogized by Mayor Shlomo Lahat, Histadrut secretary general Yeruham Meshel, and Yehoshua Rabinowitz who was a former Tel Aviv Mayor and is presently Minister of Finance. For the last six years Mr. Namir was confined to his home after suffering a stroke.

Born in the Ukraine, he received a traditional Jewish education and studied law and economics at Odessa University. He was arrested in the early 1920s for Zionist activities. Upon his release in 1924 he came to Palestine and two years later became the secretary of the Labor Party. He became circulation manager of Davar and in 1929 was named director of Histadrut’s statistical department. In 1944 he became a member of the Histadrut Executive.

Mr. Namir was prominent as a diplomat. He was a special envoy to Rumania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and then was appointed counselor of the Israeli legation in Moscow. In 1949 he replaced Golda Meir as Ambassador to Moscow. In 1951 he was elected secretary general of Histadrut and was subsequently elected to the Knesset.

In 1956 he was Minister of Labor and in 1959 was elected Tel Aviv’s Mayor, a position he held for almost 10 years and then relinquished the post because of failing health. He had been active as a member of the Tel Aviv Municipal Council since 1935, was a member of the Haganah’s national headquarters, and had been a member of the presidium of the World Zionist Action Committee and the World Jewish Congress.

During his tenure as Tel Aviv Mayor he began a slum clearance program on the beachfront and a project to establish a business and commercial center there. He was instrumental in expelling the Israeli Communist Party from Histadrut in 1953. Mr. Namir was the author of “Work in Progress,” “Industry in Palestine,” and “Yearly Economic Palestine Summaries.”

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