• Issue: July 1986
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 9
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Joseph Sprinzak - one of the leaders of the Zionist Workers movement in Eretz Israel, one of the second Aliyah, the first Speaker of the Knesset - was born in Moscow in 1885.

When the Jews were expelled from Moscow in 1891 his parents moved to Kishinev and then to Warsaw, where he received a secular and a Jewish education. In 1903, together with Yitzhak Gruenbaum, he helped to organize the Tehiya movement in Warsaw. In 1905 he returned to Kishinev and was active in. the "Zeirei Tsiyon" movement. The following year he was a member of their delegation to the Helsinki Conference and, together with Yitzhak Gruenbaum, drafted their official platform. In 1907 he was elected by the Kishinev Zionists to represent them at the 8th Zionist Congress in The Hague. In 1908 he was arrested by the Russian police and imprisoned in Warsaw for seven weeks. Upon his release he went to Lebanon to study medicine at the American University in Beirut and en route spent several months in Constantinople where he had frequent meetings with such Zionist leaders as David Wolfsohn, M.M. Usishkin, Nahum Sokolov and Ze'ev Jabotinsky. It was there, also, that he met Hanna Wantik, whom he married in 1910. In the same year he decided to give up studying so that he could accept the post of Secretary General of Hapoel Hazair in Eretz Israel, where he remained during World War I and worked for the good of the Jewish population, the Yishuv, and, in particular, for the Jewish workers under the difficult circumstances which the war had created.

After the war he continued to be active in the framework of various bodies of the Zionist movement. In 1920 Sprinzak was one of the founders of the Histadrut" (Workers Federation) and a member of the Tel Aviv Municipality. He also played a major part, together with Ben-Gurion, in founding Mapai", the Israel Labour Party. He was instrumental in the creation of the comprehensive democratic framework of the Yishuv, such as the establishment of the quasi-parliamentary bodies of Asefat Hanivharim and the Vaad Leumi. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Joseph Sprinzak was elected to chair its legislative body, the Knesset. In this capacity as Knesset Speaker during the first 10 years of its existence, he greatly influenced the nation's democratic character and moulded the rules - written and unwritten - of parliamentary life; he was highly respected by all sections of the public. In his official capacity he had to take over the functions of the President of the State, when the President was out of the country.

Sprinzak was known for his warm, friendly character, his sense of humour and his spiritual sensitivity, which enabled him to overcome temperamental conflicts, and bridge differences of ideology.

Joseph Sprinzak died in Jerusalem in 1959.

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Joseph Sprinzak