AP NEWS

Longtime nationalist Israeli lawmaker Geula Cohen dies at 93

December 19, 2019 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Geula Cohen, a longtime nationalist Israeli lawmaker who came to symbolize its West Bank settlement enterprise, has died. She was 93.

Her son, Cabinet Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, eulogized her on Thursday as a “freedom fighter without a uniform.”

Cohen, a pre-state underground fighter, served nearly 20 years in the Israeli parliament, where she became known as perhaps its most vocal opponent to peace accords that required Israel to withdraw from war-won lands.

She was a fiery critic of the country’s 1979 peace agreement with Egypt, famously interrupting Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s address to parliament about the historic accord even though he belonged to her ideological camp. She later legislated a bill that designated Jerusalem as the “indivisible” capital of the country.

Ever out of office, she continued to publicly oppose later Israeli concessions in various negotiations.

In 2003, she was awarded the Israel Prize, the country’s highest civilian honor, for her contributions to society.

President Reuven Rivlin called her passing a “true national sorrow.”

“She inspired strength, dedication, a love of the people and the land. We will follow the light of that fire along the paths she paved and created with her strength,” he said. “She was an inspiration for me and for us all.”

Labor party leader Amir Peretz, a fierce ideological opponent, said he nonetheless “valued her for her steadfast adherence to her world view.”

Cohen, who leaves behind her son and four grandchildren, will be buried in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.