Flags on the Knesset at half-mast, black-rimmed newspapers and mourners with wreaths were filmed by Visnews in Jerusalem Jan 29 as Mr.
Flags on the Knesset at half-mast, black-rimmed newspapers and mourners with wreaths were filmed by Visnews in Jerusalem Jan 29 as Mr. Yosef Sprinzak, Speaker of the Knesset, lay in state in the Israeli Parliament building.
Seen filing past the coffin, paying their last respects and laying wreaths are mourners including Mrs. Sprinzak and her son, Premier Ben Gurion, members of his Cabinet, high-ranking officers and representatives of the Zionist Action Committee.
Mr. Sprinzak had a heart attack early Wednesday afternoon after returning from a meeting of the Knesset Presidium. He died at 7:50 pm in Hadassah's Ret Hadegel hospital at the age of 74.
Israel's and the Zionist movement's "Mr. Chairman" was born in Moscow in 1885. Following the expulsion of Jews from the Russian capital his family moved to Warsaw where Sprinsak first became active in what was later to be known as the Zionist movement.
While studying medicine at the American College in Beirut he was urgently called to the leadership of Hapoel Hatzair, one of the first Jewish Labour parties in Palestine. Since then Sprinzak has presided over many of the central bodies of the Zionist movement and of the Yishuv and was elected as Secretary-General of the Histadrut in 1945.
In 1942 he was appointed as Chairman of the presidium of the Zionist General Council, in 1948 as Chairman of the Provisional State Council. His greatest hour came with his election as Speaker of the First Knesset in Jerusalem, February 1949.
Although a steadfast member of Mapai, Sprinzak as Knesset Speaker was equally respected by members from all parts of the House. His position as "godfather of the House" steadily evolved as he elected and re-elected to be Chair without opposition both in the Second and Third Knesset.
The State Funeral for Mr. Sprinzak was to take place at Mr. Herzl on Friday Jan 30.