Mordechai Ben-Porat

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Mordechai Ben-Porat
Mordechai Ben-Porat.jpg
Date of birth (1923-09-12) 12 September 1923 (age 94)
Place of birth Baghdad, Mandatory Iraq
Year of aliyah 1945
Knessets 6, 7, 8, 10
Faction represented in Knesset
1965–1968 Rafi
1968–1969 Labor Party
1969–1977 Alignment
1981–1983 Telem
1983–1984 Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism
Ministerial roles
1982–1984 Minister without Portfolio

Mordechai Ben-Porat (Hebrew: מרדכי בן-פורתArabic: مناحيم بن بورات‎, born 12 September 1923) is a former Israeli politician who served as Minister without Portfolio from July 1982 until January 1984. During his four terms in the Knesset, he represented five different parties.


Born Murad Murad(Arabic: مراد مراد‎) in Baghdad in Iraq,[1] Ben-Porat was the oldest of 11 children of Regina and Nessim Yehezkel Murad; when he reached school age, his father changed the family name to Kazzazz (meaning "silk trader," which was the profession of Ben Porat's grandfather).[1]

Ben-Porat made aliyah to Mandatory Palestine in 1945. He joined the Haganah in 1947 and fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He helped organise the mass immigration of Iraqi Jews between 1949 and 1951, during which he was arrested four times by the Iraqi authorities. He later studied political science at the Tel Aviv adjunct of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and administration at Tel Aviv University.

A member of Mapai, in 1955 he became head of Or Yehuda's local council, a post he held until 1969. When David Ben-Gurion left Mapai to found Rafi, Porat followed him. In 1965 he was elected to the Knesset on Rafi's list. During the Knesset term the party merged into the Labor Party, which then became part of the Alignment. He was re-elected on the Alignment list in 1969. and between 1970 and 1972 served as the Labor Party's deputy secretary.

He was re-elected again in 1973, but on 15 March 1977 left the party to sit as an independent MK.[2] He subsequently lost his seat in the May 1977 elections. In 1979 he was involved with the Jewish Agency's efforts to help Jews leave Iran.

In 1981 he joined the new Telem party, and was elected to the Knesset on its list in the elections that year. In July 1982 he was appointed Minister without Portfolio. On 6 June 1983 Telem split and Ben-Porat established the Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism. He remained in the cabinet until 31 January 1984, and lost his seat in the elections that year. In 1988 he joined Likud.


In 2001 he was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel,[3] in particular for his role in rescuing the Jews of Iraq.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ben Porat, Mordechai (2008). "Mordechai Ben Porat." In Tamar Morad, Dennis Shasha, and Robert Shasha (Eds.) Iraq's Last Jews: Stories of Daily Life, Upheaval, and Escape from Modern Babylon (pp. 134-150). Based on an oral history interview. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. p. 134.
  2. ^ Mergers and Splits Among Parliamentary Groups Knesset website
  3. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Recipient's C.V". 
  4. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Judges' Rationale for Grant to Recipient". 
  5. ^ Shamir, Eban, Ben-Porat Garner Israel Prize The Jewish Week, May 2001

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