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December 20, 2019 10:47 am

Israeli Activist and Longtime Knesset Member Geulah Cohen Dies at Age 93

avatar by Israel Hayom /

Geula Cohen. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Former Knesset member Geulah Cohen, an iconic pre-state underground fighter, founder of the Tehiya Party, 2003 Israel Prize laureate and the mother of Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, died on Wednesday night. She was 93 years old.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Cohen, who served as a lawmaker for 19 years, saying her death was a “national sorrow.”

“The fire that burned in Geulah went out tonight,” Rivlin said, praising her as an “Israeli freedom-fighter in every sense of the idea, who was an inspiration to myself and all of us.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that her voice “will not fall silent. We will enshrine the memory of her great struggle for Israel’s freedom, and her dedication and love for the Land of Israel.”

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Born in 1925 in Tel Aviv, Cohen joined the underground Irgun paramilitary organization movement fighting the British, but then later moved to the more radical Lehi group. She was arrested by the British in 1946 and sentenced to seven years in prison, though managed to escape a year later.

After the establishment of Israel, Cohen worked as a journalist and later became a political activist, joining the Likud Party. She was elected to the Knesset in 1973.

In 1979, she broke with Likud and founded the Tehiya Party. In 1990, she served as deputy communications minister, eventually leaving the Knesset in 1992.

She continued to advocate against any territorial withdrawal, campaigning against the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2005 Gaza disengagement.

“Until her final day, she fought for to keep the homeland whole, the unity of the nation and the ingathering of the exiles, but she never, for a moment, stopped being a loving and beloved mother and grandmother,” said Hanegbi. “Her loss will not only be felt in the family, but in the heart of the people she fought for and who loved her back.”

Labor Leader Amir Peretz also eulogized Cohen, saying, “She was an ideological opponent, but I valued her for her steadfast adherence to her world view.”

Predeceased by her husband in 1975, Cohen is survived by her son and grandchildren.

She was laid to rest on Thursday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

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