Mordechai Bentov Dead at 84
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Mordechai Bentov Dead at 84

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Funeral services were held today for Mordechai Bentov, a former Mapam leader and founder and editor of the movement’s newspaper, Al Hamishmar, who died in his home last night at Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek. He was 84.

In a political career that spanned more than half a century, Bentov served in various government Cabinet posts, including Minister of Labor and Reconstruction, of Housing, and of Development. He headed the Knesset’s Economic Committee until his resignation from active political life in 1973.

He was the only surviving member of the National Administration of the pre-State Jewish community in Palestine which became the provisional government of Israel after the Declaration of Independence in 1948, of which he was a signator.

Born in Poland in 1900, Bentov led a young group of members of the Hashomer Hatzair movement in 1920 to Palestine where he became a leader of Kibbutz Ha-Artzi. In 1943 he founded and became editor of Mapam’s daily newspaper, Al Hamishmar.

Besides his work as a journalist, Bentov authored several books, among them "Binational Solution of the Palestinian Problem" (1946) and "Israel’s Economy at the Crossroads." (1965).

He served as a delegate to numerous Zionist Congresses, and as a member of the Round Table Conference on Palestine in London in 1939, and to the Zionist Political Committee at Lake Success in 1947. Among the numerous organizations Bentov was active in over the years was the executive of the Histadrut, the world executive of Hashomer Hatzair, and the World Jewish Congress.

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