Haika Grossman: Lawmaker


The Knesset (the Israeli Parliament building). Haika served her country here in the 7th, 8th, and 9th Knessets as a member of the Ma'arach (Federation of socialist parties) and in the 11th Knesset as a member of Mapam

In 1969 Haika was elected to the 7th Knesset (Parliament) as a member of the United Labor Party (Mapam). From the first day she devoted most of her energies to the struggle to improve social conditions. In the 7th and 8th Knessets she served as Chairperson of the Public Services Committee, whose fields of parliamentary responsibility include endangered children, slums, welfare services, health problems, the handicapped and the elderly. In addition, Haika was especially interested in the status of women, and took the initiative in improving women's status and rights.

Haika was also involved in problems of religious tolerance and discrimination against women in personal law, which in Israel is based on Jewish religious law. The Law of Civil Marriages which she introduced was rejected by the Labor Party before reaching the stage of a reading in the Knesset; but she did manage to get passed a rather progressive Law of Abortions (which was later limited by Menahem Begin's government).

Other laws which Haika sponsored include a Children and Youth law which is among the most progressive in the world; the Income Tax law (giving favorable conditions to working women), and a law against physical punishment of children. Haika turned the Public Services Committee, previously the least regarded of the Knesset committees, to one of the most important.

On the 19th of April 1993, the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, invited Haika to accompany him on a journey to Warsaw. Upon her return she was one of the 12 representative who lit the torches at the ceremony on Har Hertz in Jerusalem to mark the 45th anniversary of the State of Israel.

At the President's table at the festive opening session of Mapam's 7th General Assembly, 9.6.76. In the photograph: Yitzhak Rabin, Ya'akov Hazan, Haika Grossman.

On the 13th of May 1993, a party was held for those who had lit the torches at the Independence Day ceremony, including Haika. At the end of the party, as she was descending the steep stairway, someone called to her. Haika turned around, and her foot slipped on the stairs. She fell, hit her head, and lost consciousness.

On Sunday 25.5.93, her heart stopped beating. She left behind her husband, Meir, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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