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Pinchas Rosen

Pinchas Rosen
File:Pinchas Rosen.jpg
Date of birth 1 May 1887
Year of aliyah 1926
Date of death 3 May 1978(1978-05-03) (aged 91)
Knessets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Faction represented in Knesset
1949–1961 Progressive Party
1961–1965 Liberal Party
1965–1968 Independent Liberals
Ministerial roles
1948–1951 Minister of Justice
1952–1956 Minister of Justice
1958–1961 Minister of Justice

Pinchas Rosen (Hebrew: פנחס רוזן‎, born Felix Rosenblüth, 1 May 1887 – 3 May 1978) was an Israeli politician and statesman, and the country's first Minister of Justice, serving three times during 1948–51, 1952–56, and 1958–61. He was also leader of the Independent Liberals during the 1960s.


Rosen was born in Berlin, Germany. He studied law in universities in Freiburg and Berlin, graduating in 1908, and later served in the Imperial German Army in World War I. Always active in Zionist circles, Rosen was Chairman of Zionist Federation in Germany from 1920–1923, and eventually immigrated to Palestine in 1926 where he practiced as a lawyer and helped create the Central European Immigrants Association.

Rosen was married three times, first to Annie Lesser with whom he had two children, Hans and Dina, who with their mother settled in London in 1933 and whom Rosen visited regularly until the end of his life. In 1935 he married Hadassah Calvary with whom he had a daughter, Rivka, who died in 1942 aged seven, and Hadassah died of cancer in 1945. In 1950 he married Johana Rosenfeld who also predeceased him. Through his second and third wives he gained four step sons.

Political career

In 1942 Rosen founded the New Aliyah Party, and was elected to the Assembly of Representatives on its list in 1944. In 1948 he was among the signatories of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, which he helped drafting.

In the 1949 elections, the New Aliyah Party became the Progressive Party, winning Rosen a seat in the Knesset. In 1950, when David Ben-Gurion was unable to form a coalition, the President gave the task to Rosen, as head of the Progressive Party. Rosen handed the reins to Mapai, recognizing its indispensability.[1]

Rosen became the country's first Minister of Justice, an office to which he brought a strong reputation for intellect and probity. He retained his seat and Ministerial position in the 1951, 1955 and 1959 elections. Soon after the 1959 election the Progressive Party merged with the General Zionists to form the Liberal Party.

The new party won the third largest number of seats in the 1961 elections but was not invited into the coalition, and Rosen lost his ministerial position. In order to consolidate opposition to Mapai's hegemony within Israeli politics, the Liberal Party merged with Herut to form Gahal. Rosen, however, was unhappy with the merger, and led a breakaway of seven MKs to found the Independent Liberals. He was elected to the sixth Knesset but resigned from the Knesset on December 23, 1968, and retired from politics. His departure from the political stage was greeted by one newspaper as, "The end of the aristocracy" and in another by a cartoon captioned: "Another Channukah miracle! ... An MK resigns because of age."

Rosen was a long-term friend of David Ben-Gurion who broke with Rosen after the Lavon affair, a botched Israeli sabotage operation in Egypt, in which Rosen sided with Lavon who had been (almost certainly falsely) accused of masterminding the mission, after which it is said Ben-Gurion refused to talk to Rosen again.

On his death Pinhas Rosen received a state funeral.


In 1973, Rosen was awarded the Israel Prize, in jurisprudence.[2]

See also


External links

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