About Yosef Shprinzak, 1st Speaker of the Kneset, יוסף שפרינצק
Yosef Sprinzak (Hebrew: יוסף שפרינצק, 8 December 1885 – 28 January 1959) was a leading Zionist activist in the first half of the 20th century, an Israeli politician, and the first Speaker of the Knesset, a role he held from 1949 until his death in 1959.
Knesset 1 14.2.1949 - 20.8.1951
Knesset 2 20.8.1951 - 15.8.1955
Knesset 3 15.8.1955 - 28.1.1959 (Partial tenure)
Knesset 1 Speaker of the Knesset
Knesset 2 Speaker of the Knesset
Knesset 3 Speaker of the Knesset
Sprinzak was born in Moscow, Russia but following the expulsion of Jews in 1891 moved with his family to Kishinev where he was a founder of the Tze'irei Zion (Zion Youth). He began medical school at the American University in Beirut in 1908 and settled in Palestine in 1910, during the Second Aliyah (1904–1914).
Along with Eliezer Kaplan Sprinzak headed Hapoel Hatzair ("The Young Worker") a Zionist socialist faction formed in 1905 and one of the organisations that consolidated to form Mapai in 1930. Its members were pro-British and supported Chaim Weizmann. He was a founder of the Histadrut in 1920 and acted as secretary general of the organisation from 1945 to 1949.
Sprinzak was elected to the position of speaker of the provisional parliament on 15 July 1948, a role in which he helped lay the foundations of Israel's parliamentarism. He was elected to the first Knesset in 1949 as a member of Mapai, and became the Speaker of the new body. He was re-elected and remained speaker in both the second and third Knessets.
As part of his role as speaker, Sprinzak became acting President of Israel when Chaim Weizmann fell ill from 12 December 1951. After Weizmann's death on 9 November 1952 Sprinzak served as interim President until inauguration of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi on 10 December 1952.
His son Yair Sprinzak, a chemist, also served in the Knesset.
- Organized, with Yitzhak Greenboim, the “Tehiya” Association (1903)
- Worked for “AhiAssaf” Publishers
- Member of Russian Central Committee of “Zionists for Zion”
- In 1904 was elected to Regional Secretary of the Zionist Federation in Grodno
- In 1905 returned to Kishinev as was active in the “Youth of Zion” Movement in southern Russia
- Participated in the Russian Zionist Convention at Helsingfors
- A delegate to Zionist Congresses beginning with the Congress at The Hague in 1908
- In 1908 went to Lebanon to study medicine at the University of Beirut but ended his studies and immigrated to pre-State Israel to become Secretary of “Ha’Poel Hatzair” in 1910
- Was head of the Party and edited its publication
- During WWI he remained in pre-State Israel and was one of organizers of aid to the Jewish community
- After the war he helped reconstitute “Ha’Poel Hatzair”
- Elected Secretary of the Party and was its political leader
- Head of Israel delegation of “Ha’Poel Hatzair” to the Prague Convention, in which the “Hitachdut” was created (1920)
- One of founders and leaders of Histadrut
- Member of the Zionist Directorate in Jerusalem in 1921-1927; 1929-1931
- Served as head of Department of Labor and afterwards Department of Immigration
- Member of Assembly of Representatives and the National Council
- For a time was a member of Tel Aviv City Council
- Chairman of the Presidium of the Zionist Executive Committee, 1942-1959
- General Secretary of the Histadrut, 1945-1949
- Shortly after the creation of the State he was elected Chairman of the Provisional State Council
- At the opening session of the first Knesset he was elected unanimously to be the Speaker of the Knesset
Yosef Shprinzak, 1st Speaker of the Kneset, יוסף שפרינצק's Timeline
December 8, 1885
Moscow, город Москва, Russia
November 8, 1911
Tel Aviv, Israel
March 20, 1924
January 28, 1959