BEERSHEBA (Aug. 12)
Pinhas Sapir, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, and former Finance Minister of Israel, died today after suffering a heart attack near Beersheba. He was 67 years old.
Mr. Sapir was guest of honor at Moshav Nevatim in the Negev, some 10 miles south of Beersheba, which was inaugurating a new synagogue when he collapsed during the ceremony. Mr. Sapir was immediately put into an ambulance which was on standby because of the large crowd, and a nurse and Mr. Sapir’s spokesman, Yossef Harel, took turns applying artificial respiration during the ride to Beersheba. At Beersheba Hospital, an open heart massage was attempted but all efforts failed and he was pronounced dead.
Mr. Sapir had a long tiring day today, dedicated to the two areas to which he had devoted his energies since becoming Jewish Agency chairman last year–aliya and absorption. He started the day with discussion with the Beersheba Municipal Council on the question of absorbing more immigrants into that city. He then visited the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, of which he is one of the founders, and then travelled to several settlements in the Beersheba area.
In the afternoon, along with Premier Yitzhak Rabin, Religious Affairs Minister Yitzhak Rafael and Agriculture Minister Aharon Uzan, he attended the synagogue inauguration at Nevatim, a moshav settled by immigrants from India. Sapir spoke of the success of the immigrants in making Nevatim a flourishing settlement. He announced that the Jewish Agency, which had provided one of the Torah scrolls for the new synagogue, had donated 10 fellowships for higher education to the village.
Mr. Sapir’s death, which occurred at 6:50 p.m. was not made public until 9 p.m. so that his wife and children could be notified. Funeral services will be held Thursday morning in Jerusalem.