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Ya’acov Hazan Dead at Age 93, Leader of Socialist Zionists

Ya’acov Hazan, described as the last of the giants of the Socialist Zionist movement, died at his home in Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek on Wednesday at the age of 93.

Hazan founded Mapam, the left-wing Zionist political party, as well as the Shomer Hatzair and Kibbutz Artzi movements.

Hazan was eulogized briefly in the Knesset on Wednesday, with a special memorial session to be held next week, at the end of the shiva mourning period.

Hazan was born in Brisk Litovsk in Lithuania in 1899, studied Hebrew in Warsaw and received a degree in engineering at the Warsaw Polytechnic.

He helped found the Jewish Scout movement in Poland and was active in the Socialist Zionist movement from an early age, before emigrating to Palestine in the early 1920.

In Palestine, he worked as a laborer in orange groves and then in the draining of the Jezreel Valley swamps, before becoming a member of Mishmar Ha’emek, his home until his death.

Hazan was a member of the first Knesset in 1948 and served there until 1973. He worked closely with Meir Ya’ari in the establishment of the left-wing kibbutz movements and Mapam.

Hazan said in a recent interview that his only regret was that, at one moment in the 1950’s, he had told the Knesset that he had two homelands — “the Soviet Union and Israel.”

He said he soon realized that Jews had only one homeland — the State of Israel.

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