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Mordechai Namir

(1897 – 1975)

Mordechai Namir (Nemirovsky) was an Israeli labor leader and politician, mayor of Tel Aviv, member of the Second to Sixth Knessets. Born in Bratolinbovka in the Ukraine, Namir studied in a traditional ḥeder, a reformed ḥeder, and a secular high school. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Namir studied economics and law at the University of Odessa but was arrested for underground activities within the framework of the Zionist Socialist Party, and expelled from the university. He also studied music.

Namir settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1924, working at first as a laborer but soon joining the management of the Histadrut’s daily Davar. In 1926–30, he served as the secretary of Aḥdut ha-Avodah in Tel Aviv. He was the director of the statistical section of the Histadrut in 1929–35.

In 1935, he was elected to the Tel Aviv City Council and in 1936–43 he was secretary of the Tel Aviv Workers’ Council. Namir joined the Haganah Command in Tel Aviv in 1933. In 1940, he was arrested by the Mandatory authorities for organizing demonstrations against the White Paper policy.

In World War II, he served as head of the bureaus for Jewish enlistment to the British army. After the establishment of the state, Namir was sent on diplomatic missions to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. In 1948–49, he served as first advisor in the Israeli consulate in Moscow, and in 1940–50 served as consul in Moscow. Namir was elected to the Second Knesset in 1951 on the Mapai list, simultaneously being elected to the position of secretary-general of the Histadrut, in which capacity he served until 1955. He served as minister of labor in 1956, holding the post until he was elected mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 1959. As mayor, Namir was responsible for extensive modernization and development schemes. Namir remained mayor and a Knesset member until 1969.

Among his writings are a book about Aḥdut ha-Avodah, Aḥdut ha-Avodah: Ma'asef Mifleget Po'alei Ereẓ Yisrael (1946) and one about his years as consul in Moscow, Sheliḥut be-Moskva: Yeraḥ Devash u-Shenot Za'am (1972).


S. Honigman, Be-Shem ha-Ir u-be-Sherutah: Eser Shenot Kehunat Mordekhai Namir ke-Rosh Iriyyat Tel Aviv (1973).

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.