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Pinchas Sapir
Pinchas Sapir 1955.jpg
Date of birth 15 October 1906
Place of birth Suwałki, Russian Empire
Date of death 12 August 1975(1975-08-12) (aged 68)
Place of death Nevatim, Israel
Knessets 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Faction represented in Knesset
1959–1965 Mapai
1965–1968 Alignment
1968–1969 Labor Party
1969–1975 Alignment
Ministerial roles
1955–1965 Minister of Trade and Industry
1963–1968 Minister of Finance
1968–1969 Minister without Portfolio
1969–1974 Minister of Finance
1970–1972 Minister of Trade and Industry
Minister Sapir visiting a factory at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel (1962)

Pinchas Sapir (Hebrew: פנחס ספיר‎, born Pinchas Kozlowski 15 October 1906 – 12 August 1975) was an Israeli politician during the first three decades following the country's founding.

He held two important ministerial posts, Minister of Finance (1963–68 and 1969–74) and Minister of Trade and Industry (1955–65 and 1970–72) as well as several other high-ranking governmental posts. He is often considered to be 'the father' of the Israeli economy for his unwavering efforts to foster economic development during the country's formative years.


Pinhas Sapir was born in 1906 in Suwałki, Russian Empire (now in Poland) and after graduating from a teachers' seminary he emigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1929. He was a long-time resident of the city of Kfar Saba where he lived in a modest apartment until his death. He died from a heart attack while attending a ceremony in moshav Nevatim, on 12 August 1975.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

Pinhas Sapir with Arab MKs

At the time he served in government, the young state was isolated economically from its neighbors while having to contend with significant defense expenditures and struggling to absorb and provide for the many Jewish immigrants who entered its borders. Sapir worked tirelessly to attract foreign investments to the country, often by personally encouraging and enticing businessmen from around the world to set up factories and businesses in the young nation.[1] He is known for always carrying with him his famous "black notebook" in which he kept his notes and observations pertaining to economic matters as he traveled around the country.[3] It was often said that in those days that the entire economy of the state of Israel was managed from that famous black notebook.

While he is sometimes criticized for perhaps providing undue protection to wealthy investors and practicing too much centralized control (as in the "black notebook"),[4] he is nevertheless recognized as a man of action who always had the best interests of the Israeli economy and society on his mind. Indeed, during his tenure the country experienced very high economic growth rates, sometimes exceeding 10% annually despite the many challenges it faced from both outside and within. For this he is often considered one of the best finance ministers in the state's history.


Named in Sapir's honour is Moshav Sapir, founded in 1978, as is Sapir College in southern Israel and the prestigious Sapir Prize in literature, as well as various streets and other landmarks throughout Israel.

In October 2012 the Ramat Gan Safari zoo named a newborn Brazilian Tapir in Sapir's honor. Following the collection of possible names that start with the letter P (as it is the zoo's practice to name all individuals of the same family with names starting with the same letter), suggested by the general public, the young tapir was named Pinchas Tapir.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Milestones". Time Magazine. 25 August 1975. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Whitman, Alden (13 August 1975). "Pinhas Sapir, 68, of Israel, Ex-Cabinet Minister, Dies". The New York Times. p. 36. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  3. ^ S. Hattis-Rolef (1998). Political Lexicon of Israel (in Hebrew). Keter. 
  4. ^ "Sapir Pinchas" (in Hebrew). THe Israeli Labour Movement website. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  5. ^ "אנחנו לא מפסיקים להתרגש: טפיר נולד בספארי". Ramat Gan Safari. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinchas_Sapir — Please support Wikipedia.
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Sharnoff's Global Views

Sharnoff's Global Views
Sun, 02 Jun 2013 09:02:35 -0700

He changed his name to Pinchas Sapir, something which was very common among the Israeli leaders, who all tried to accommodate and embrace the Hebrew language. They all looked upon to David Ben Gurion, whom himself had done the same. Sapir was ...

Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem Post
Thu, 29 May 2014 12:03:25 -0700

My first meeting with Pinchas Sapir (Hebrew for sapphire) was when he was director-general of the Ministry of Finance, which was housed in a small three-story building in a little lane running off Jerusalem's Jaffa Road. Heavy-set, bald and pulling the ...


Fri, 04 Dec 2015 13:33:45 -0800

His political journey started with Mapai, after which he served as an assistant to Finance Minister Pinchas Sapir and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. In 1974 Sarid was elected to the Knesset for the first time as a member of the Alignment party. He was a ...

Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine
Sun, 10 Jan 2016 21:01:41 -0800

The drink came on the market soon after the Six Day War and was introduced by the Minister of Finance, Pinchas Sapir at an international investors conference as a “business success that accompanied the military success.” I had returned to journalism ...


Fri, 02 Oct 2015 05:58:50 -0700

I rushed home and called a leading member of the Israeli government, Finance Minister Pinchas Sapir, who was considered the most dovish member of the cabinet. He received me at once, listened to what I had to say and showed no interest at all.


Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:33:05 -0700

If these had been the systems at Ben-Gurion and (former finance minister) Pinchas Sapir's side, I doubt Israel would have survived. I was a civil servant for certain periods of my life, and I personally experienced it. Some of the restrictions have a ...

The New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books
Thu, 30 Jan 2014 11:39:30 -0800

Before the Yom Kippur War in 1973, my friend the writer Amos Elon accompanied Pinchas Sapir, Labor's powerful finance minister, on a visit to Sharon in Sinai. It was a scorching day, and Sapir was exhausted, but Sharon, who was very keen on impressing ...

Washington Free Beacon

Washington Free Beacon
Sat, 06 Dec 2014 02:01:03 -0800

Israel's economic development suffered for decades under the system established by his longtime minister of trade and industry Pinchas Sapir. As late as 1983 (many years after Ben-Gurion had left power) one economist noted that Israeli resources were ...

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