Former Knesset member Saadia Marciano, one of the founders of the "Black Panthers" movement, died Thursday at the age of 58 in a Jerusalem hospital.
Marciano, who was born in Oujda, Morocco, was elected to the Knesset in 1980 as a member of the Sheli Party, until he established an independent faction - Equality in Israel-Panthers, which later became the Unity Party. He resigned from the Knesset in 1981.
His relative, current Knesset Member Yoram Marciano (Labor) told Ynet that Saadia "was a special person who never relied on PR firms".
Established in early 1971 in Jerusalem, the "Black Panthers" movement, consisting of second generation olim from Islamic countries, was one of the first organizations in Israel that worked toward advancing social justice for the Mizrahi Jews.
Marciano's financial situation deteriorated in recent years, as did his health. The Knesset even set up a special committee to examine whether the State could help support him financially, seeing that he was not eligible for pension funds due to his short stint as an MK.
MK Nadia Hilou (Likud) told Ynet that despite its efforts, the committee was unable to help Marciano due to legislative constraints.
Pensioners Party MK Itshac Galantee met Marciano less than two weeks ago to discuss plans to supply food and radiators to Jerusalem's needy.
"He wanted to help every needy person," the MK said. "He always spoke of the poor residents of Jerusalem, and never mentioned his own situation."