TEL AVIV (Feb. 24)
Funeral services were held Monday for Meir Yaari, co-founder of the Mapam Party and the Socialist-Zionist Hashomer Hatzair youth and kibbutz movement. He was buried in Kibbutz Merhavia, where he died Saturday at the age of 90.
Yaari was regarded as one of the founders of the Jewish State. He served in every Knesset from the first in 1948 until his retirement from political life in 1973. His burial was attended by hundreds of mourners, including President Chaim Herzog, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel and Cabinet Ministers and Knesset members of many parties.
At his request, no prayers were recited at the graveside. A eulogy was delivered by Mapam veteran Yaacov Hazan, who with Yaari was cofounder of the party in Vienna before World War I. He vowed that Yaari’s comrades would continue on the political and pioneering path laid down by him.
Peres, speaking for the government, said the country would never forget Yaari the man and the mark he left on Israel. Before the funeral, Yaari’s coffin lay in state in the main hall of Histadrut headquarters here. Thousands of people filed past to pay their last respects.
Born in Galicia in 1897, Yaari served as an officer in the Austrian army. He studied under Sigmund Freud and attended the Agricultural Institute in Vienna before immigrating to Palestine in 1923.
Friends and associates of Yaari described him Sunday as doctrinaire in his philosophical and political beliefs, but while he would not tolerate deviations from Mapam’s teachings, he himself spearheaded change in his party’s leftist orientation. Most notable was his break with Moscow, when he became disillusioned with Soviet attitudes toward Israel, Zionism and Jews.
Another anguished change, mirrored in his voluminous correspondence, was his abandonment of his early aspirations for a bi-national, Jewish-Arab State in Palestine.