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Shlomo Hillel, agent-turned-MK who facilitated Iraqi Jewish immigration, dies

Former minister Shlomo Hillel attends the Labor Party conference marking the party's 50th anniversary in Tel Aviv, April 24, 2018.(Gili Yaari/FLASH90)
Former minister Shlomo Hillel attends the Labor Party conference marking the party's 50th anniversary in Tel Aviv, April 24, 2018.(Gili Yaari/FLASH90)

Former Knesset speaker and minister Shlomo Hillel, who played a major role in facilitating the immigration of Jews from Iraq to Israel, has died at the age of 97.

A longtime ambassador, lawmaker and minister, the Iraqi-born Hillel was first voted into the Knesset in 1952 in Mapai. He held several cabinet portfolios during his political career, including internal affairs and police. From 1984 until 1988, he served as Knesset speaker. Hillel also served as Israel’s ambassador to several African countries in the 1960s.

In 1946-1951, Hillel worked as a Mossad attache for ”Aliyah Bet” in which Jews from Iraq illegally immigrated to Israel.

A plane filled with Iraqi Jews photographed on arrival at Lod Airport outside Tel Aviv in early 1951. (Teddy Brauner, GPO)
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