Geula Cohen, famed Zionist fighter and former MK, dies at 93

Famed underground fighter Geula Cohen died on Wednesday, age 93.

By Arye Green, TPS

Geula Cohen, who fought in the underground Irgun before moving to the smaller, but more radical Lechi group, died on Wednesday night at 93, a week short of her 94th birthday.

Cohen was born in Tel Aviv in 1925 and joined the Jewish underground at 17 with the goal of driving the British from Palestine.

In 1942, Cohen joined the Irgun to fight for Israel’s independence and moved to Lechi a year later. Serving as a radio announcer for Lechi, she was arrested by the British military authorities in 1946, managed to escape and was recaptured.

After Israel was founded in 1948, Cohen worked as a journalist and became a prominent right-wing activist and politician. She served as MK for 18 years in the Likud and Tehiya parties, and as deputy minister of science and technology.

In 2003, Cohen won the Israel Prize, the country’s highest civilian honor, for her contributions to Israeli society. Cohen also won the Yakir Yerushalayim award from the city of Jerusalem in 2007.

Cohen strongly opposed territorial concessions under any circumstances. She was a vocal critic of the Camp David Accords in 1978 and of disengagement plan from Gaza in 2005.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Cohen’s love for the Land of Israel and vowed to continue her legacy.

“Geula Cohen’s voice will not be silenced. We will cherish the memory of her great struggle for Israel’s freedom and her dedication and love for the Land of Israel. She belongs to a great generation, and will always remain a symbol of excellence to us, who follow in her footsteps,” he said.

President Reuven Rivlin said Cohen’s contribution to Zionism has inspired generations of Israelis.

“The fire that burned in Geula extinguished tonight. She was Israel’s freedom fighter in the deepest sense of the idea, inspiring myself and all of us. An inspiration of power, of devotion and of love to a nation in its land,” he said.

Tzachi Hanegbi, Cohen’s son who is a Likud MK and serves as minister of regional development, said his mother was both a prominent national symbol and a loving figure at home.

“Until her final day, she fought to keep the homeland whole, for the unity of the nation and the gathering of the exiles. However, her love for the nation never eclipsed her love as a mother and a grandmother,” he said.

“Her loss will not only be felt in the family, but in the heart of the people she fought for, who loved her as well,” he added.

She will be buried at the Har Zeitim Cemetery in Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon.