Levi Eshkol .
(photo credit: ROLF KNELLER/JERUSALEM POST ARCHIVES)
Miriam Eshkol, the widow of former prime minister Levi Eshkol, died on Saturday morning at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. She was 87.
Miriam Eshkol served in the Palmah, on convoys to the besieged Jerusalem and in the War of Independence in the artillery. In poor health in recent years, the Romanian-born Eshkol worked diligently to preserve her husband’s memory and to keep his name in the public consciousness.
Up until the time of her death, Eshkol concerned herself with establishing a Levi Eshkol Center in a building in Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood that had been the prime minister’s residence during the tenure of Golda Meir.
The house had been in a state of disrepair for years until the government acceded to Miriam Eshkol’s request to turn it into a memorial for her husband. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2017.
Miriam Eshkol, who had been the Knesset librarian, was Levi Eshkol’s third wife and 35 years his junior.
In 1966, two years after their marriage, she accompanied her husband on a tour of Africa and danced with Idi Amin, who was then the commander of Uganda’s armed forces and soon to become the country’s dictator.
President Reuven Rivlin memorialized Miriam Eshkol, calling her a very special person who energetically devoted herself to important areas of public service and one who will be fondly remembered by Knesset veterans.
She was head of the public committee that founded Beit HaLochem, a rehabilitation center for wounded and disabled soldiers, and was also the president of a Jewish-Arab friendship association.
Eshkol had for many years been a personal friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, both of whom expressed their sorrow at her passing on Saturday night.
She will be buried alongside her husband on Mount Herzl. No date for the funeral has been announced.