November 12, 2009
Former Knesset member Eliyahu Speiser dies at age 79.
Born in Haifa on March 23, 1930, Speiser was educated at the Hebrew Reali School and Hebrew University, where he earned a degree in bacteriology and served as the secretary of the student union. He also studied economics and law at the University of Paris and served on the Israeli Embassy staff in France.
He worked for Mapai, Israel’s dominant political party, from 1965 to 1968 as a spokesman, director of academics, secretary of the economics committee and director of foreign affairs. After Mapai merged to form the Labor Party in 1968, Speiser became the party secretary for the Tel Aviv district.
He served as the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, chaired the Association of Cities of the Dan Area, recognized as the largest metropolitan area in Israel, and was appointed Labor’s international secretary.
He was elected to the ninth Knesset in 1977 on the Alignment list, an alliance that included Labor and led the opposition to Menachem Begin’s government. Speiser was twice more elected to the Knesset, where he served until 1988. His assignments included the Immigration and Absorption Committee, the House Committee, and the Special Committee for Promotion of Export, and he chaired the Economic Affairs Committee in the 11th Knesset.