Former Knesset speaker Yitzhak Berman dies at 100

Berman served as speaker on behalf of Likud in ninth Knesset; resigned in 1982 over differences regarding Sabra and Shatila commission of inquiry

Former minister and Knesset speaker Yitzak Berman has passed away at the age of 100. Berman served as speaker of the ninth Knesset on behalf of the Likud faction and later as energy and infrastructure minister. He will be laid to rest at Mount Herzl at 6 pm.


Born in 1913, Berman emigrated to Israel from the Ukraine in 1920. In 1937 he joined the Irgun and in 1948 enlisted in the IDF.


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He trained as a teacher in Jerusalem and later studied the law in London and was certified as an attorney. He never married and has no children.


In 1977, when the Likud first came to power, he became a Knesset member at the age of 64.


"They were all much younger than me," he recalled in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth two months ago. As speaker of the ninth Knesset he would often spend the night at the Knesset earning him a reputation of being modest. "I thought it was important to lead by example. I slept there at least one a week."


He later served as energy and infrastructure minister until his resignation in September 1982 due to differences over the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the Sabra and Shatila events.


Berman had demanded that a Supreme Court justice head the committee but the government decided to appoint a committee on its behalf. He was also against the expansion of the Lebanon war and locked horns with then Prime Minister Menachem Begin over the issue.


"Begin and I were not close," Berman said. "He was a talented man and I was impressed with his leadership and statesmanship. He didn't always appreciate my decisions as Knesset speaker but never tried to talk me out of them even in the face of party pressure."


Berman spent the last few years living in a retirement community in Tel Aviv, aided by a wheelchair and an oxygen tank.



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פרסום ראשון: 08.04.13, 10:26
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