Yitzhak-Meir Levin

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Yitzhak-Meir Levin
Yitzhak Meir Levin.jpg
Date of birth 30 January 1893
Place of birth Góra Kalwaria, Russian Empire
Year of aliyah 1940
Date of death 7 August 1971(1971-08-07) (aged 78)
Knessets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Party represented in Knesset
1949–1951 United Religious Front
1951–1955 Agudat Yisrael
1955–1960 Religious Torah Front
1960–1971 Agudat Yisrael
Ministerial roles
1948–1952 Minister of Welfare

Rabbi Yitzhak-Meir Levin (Hebrew: יצחק-מאיר לוין‎, born 30 January 1893, died 7 August 1971) was an Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) politician who was a Member of Parliament in both Poland and Israel. One of 37 people to sign the Israeli declaration of independence, he served in several Israeli cabinets, and was a longtime leader and Knesset minster for Agudat Yisrael and related parties.

Biography[edit]

Born in Góra Kalwaria (known as Ger in Yiddish) in the Russian Empire (today in Poland), Levin studied at yeshivas, before being certified as a rabbi.

A founder of Agudath Israel in Poland, he was elected to Warsaw Community Council as a representative of the organisation in 1924, and five years later was elected to the World Agudath Israel presidium. In 1937 he was elected as one of the two co-chairmen of the organisation's executive committee. Between 1937 and 1939 he was a member of the Sejm, the Polish parliament, representing Agudath Israel. In 1940 he became the sole chairman.

He was also involved in founding the Beis Yaakov school system for religious Jewish girls.

Following the outbreak of World War II, Levin helped refugees in Warsaw, before immigrating to Mandatory Palestine in 1940, where he became head of the local branch of Agudath Israel.

After signing the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948, Levin joined David Ben-Gurion's provisional government as Minister of Welfare. He was elected to the first Knesset in 1949 as a member of the United Religious Front, an alliance of the four major religious parties, and was reappointed to his ministerial role in the first and second governments.

After retaining his seat in the 1951 elections Levin rejoined Ben-Gurion's government as Minister of Welfare, but resigned in 1952 in protest at the National Service Law for Women. He remained a member of the Knesset until his death in 1971, but not a member of the cabinet; in his remaining terms, he represented Religious Torah Front—an alliance of Agudat Yisrael and its laborer's branch Poalei Agudat Yisrael.

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