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Yisrael Galili Passes Away, 1986

On this day, 1986, Yisrael Galili, an Israeli politician, passed away. Galili was born in Ukraine in 1911, and made Aliyah as a child (in 1914). He was educated in a Tel Aviv public school and then joined the Haganah (a precursor to the IDF that worked to protect Jews prior to the founding of Israel) in 1927. In 1935, Galili became a member of the Central Committee of the Haganah; during World War II, he played a key role in preparing for a possible German invasion. Eventually, he was promoted to Head of National Staff of the Haganah, and during the Israeli War of Independence, he worked to secure supplies for Israeli troops. Galili later served on the First Knesset as a member of Mapam, a Socialist Zionist political party. Though he was not a member of the Second Knesset, he served on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Knessets as a representative of the Ahdut Ha’avoda party, which had split from Mapam in 1954. During that time, he served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Galili also was elected to the Sixth Knesset through the Eighth Knesset as a member of the Alignment and, later, Israel Labor Party. From 1966 to 1977, he served as a Minister Without Portfolio. A trusted advisor of Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, and Yitzhak Rabin, Galili was also, unofficially, a key voice in many government decisions. While he served in the Seventh Knesset, Galili released a controversial proposal to expand Israeli developments in territories like the West Bank and Gaza. The plan, now known as the Galili Document, was opposed by some members of Galili’s own party, and most of the proposed ideas did not come to fruition. Later in his career, Galili stopped running for the Knesset, but remained an advisor to younger members of his party. Notably, he encouraged Yigal Allon and then Yitzhak Rabin to vie for control of the Labor Party. Today, Galili’s legacy lives on in many ways, but especially through the No’ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed youth movement that he helped found in 1924. He also founded the Na’an kibbutz, which is now one of the most populous kibbutzim in Israel.

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