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Dr. Josephtal, Israel Minister, Dies of Heart Attack in Switzerland

August 23, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Giora Josephtal, Minister of Development and Housing and one of the younger leaders of the Mapai party, died in Switzerland this morning after a heart attack. He was 50 years old. He had been convalescing in Lucerne after a prolonged illness. A second heart attack caused his death.

The Cabinet held an extraordinary memorial session this afternoon in which Dr. Josephtal was eulogized by Acting Premier Levi Eshkol, who expressed the profound grief of the Government. The Cabinet also discussed arrangements for the transfer of Dr. Josephtal’s body to Israel for burial.

The youthful Minister, who was born in Nuremberg and educated in German universities, settled in Palestine in 1938 and served the Zionist movement and the pre-State Jewish community in a variety of posts. He had been secretary general of the Mapai party, a former treasurer of the Jewish Agency and a director of its Immigration and Absorption Department. He had also been a member of the Israeli delegation on the reparations negotiations with West Germany.

He served as a director of Youth Aliyah in Germany until 1938 and was a Jewish Agency representative in Europe and in the Jewish immigrants camp at Athlit. He served in the British Army from 1943 to 1946. He had visited the United States several times to aid the United Jewish Appeal campaign and enjoyed great respect from American Jewish leaders.

In a message cabled from Stockholm and read at the special Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, now on a state visit to the Scandinavian countries, said he was “deeply shocked by the horrible news,” and added: “We have lost an exemplary halutz, a dear comrade, and an outstanding man, true in spirit and deeds to Israel. A man of the kibbutz, he was pure and helpful to the party, the Histadrut and the Israel Government. Great is the pain and sorrow of this loss.”

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