Louis A. Pincus, World Zionist Leader, Dies at Age 61 Burial-friday on Mount Herzl
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Louis A. Pincus, World Zionist Leader, Dies at Age 61 Burial-friday on Mount Herzl

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Louis A. Pincus chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive and of the World Zionist Organization and newly-elected chairman of the Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO), died in his sleep here early this morning. He was 61. Though he had suffered some heart trouble last year, he was thought to be in reasonably good health. His wife, Chasya, found him dead beside her when she awoke this morning.

The Jewish Agency announced this afternoon that Mr. Pincus will be buried Friday at the section of Mount Herzl graveyard reserved for prominent Zionist leaders. The bier will be brought to the Jewish Agency head offices early Friday morning and will then lie in state at the Jerusalem Convention Hall where the public will pay its respects. Premier Golda Meir is expected to deliver the eulogy at the funeral service there.

News of Mr. Pincus’ death was withheld by radio and newspapers until his son in the army was located and informed. The government ceremonies committee went into immediate session to work out arrangements for the official funeral. The national flag atop the Jewish Agency building in the heart of Jerusalem was lowered to half-mast.

Mr. Pincus’ chief aide, Moshe Rivlin, the Agency’s director general, who was in Europe, was notified of the tragedy. He made immediate arrangements to return to Israel. Leon Dultzin, Agency treasurer and now acting chairman, was. also abroad and was summoned home.

Mr. Pincus was born in the Orange Free State in South Africa in 1912 and was graduated from the Witwatersrand University Law School in 1934 and opened a law practice in South Africa.


One of the founders of the Habonim Movement in South Africa, he served as chairman of the South African Labor Zionist Movement from 1939 to 1948 and as vice-chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, which he represented at the Zionist Congress at Basle.

Mr. Pincus settled in Israel in 1948 and for one year served as legal advisor to the Transport Ministry of the fledgling State. In 1949, he was appointed managing director of El Al and in the next seven years laid the foundations of the country’s proficient and profitable national air carrier. In 1957, he joined a leading Tel Aviv law firm.

He was a member of the Central Committee and chairman of the academic section of Mapai, the Israeli Labor Party, and a member of the Executive of the World Union of Poalei Zion. His association with the Jewish Agency began in 1956 when he was elected chairman of its finance and budget committee. He was elected treasurer of the Agency in 1961 and chairman of the Executive in 1965. Since 1968 he also held the aliya and absorption portfolio on the Agency Executive.

From 1962 to 1971, Mr. Pincus was chairman of the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University and from 1971, president of Yad Chaim Weizmann. His major achievement as Agency head was the reconstitution of the Jewish Agency which he finally brought about in 1971 after years of effort. Under the reconstitution, major Jewish organizations which had not been members of the World Zionist Organization became members of the Jewish Agency.

Prominent among these were the main fund raising bodies such as the United Jewish Appeal, but they also included such organizations as the World Sephardi Union and Maccabi. A board of governors of the Reconstituted Agency was set up with 150 representatives of the WZO and 150 of the other bodies. Max Fisher of Detroit is chairman of the Reconstituted Jewish Agency.

A new, more streamlined and efficient division of responsibility was introduced. The Agency is responsible for work for Israel such as fund raising, immigration, absorption, social welfare and youth aliya, while the WZO supervises information, youth activities and educational work in the diaspora.

Mr. Pincus was reelected chairman of the WZO Executive in 1972. The post of president, however, eluded him. It has been vacant since Dr. Nahum Goldmann’s retirement in 1968. Mr. Pincus was an accomplished and sometimes rousing public speaker. He leaves his widow and two sons, David and Alon. (See P. 3 for reaction from Jewish leaders in this country and abroad.)

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