Former MK Shmuel Flatto-Sharon dies at 88

Businessman and former Knesset member Shmuel Flatto-Sharon passes away at Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Tags: Death
Ben Ariel ,

Shmuel Flatto-Sharon
Shmuel Flatto-Sharon
Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90

Businessman and former Knesset member Shmuel Flatto-Sharon passed away on Thursday night at the age of 88 at the Tel Hashomer hospital.

He was hospitalized in September at Ichilov Hospital for bronchitis, and for the past month was hospitalized at Tel Hashomer. His funeral will take place on Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the Savyon cemetery.

Flatto-Sharon was born as Shmuel Sheibitz to a Jewish family in Lodz, Poland in 1930. His family escaped to France after the German invasion of Poland. He attended high school in Paris and Strasbourg, and joined the Young Communist League in 1945.

At age 14, he began selling cigarettes to soldiers and students, and then entered the recycling business, making a fortune in the recycling of paper, rags, and scrap metal. At age 21, he entered the real estate business.

In 1975 he made aliyah to Israel, fleeing the French authorities as he was wanted for embezzling $60 million. He bought a villa in Savyon and immediately launched a business career in Israel. He entered a partnership with Israeli businessman Avraham Pilz, with whom he established the Dizengoff Center, which was Israel's first shopping mall.

In 1977 Flatto-Sharon formed a one-man party, also named Flatto-Sharon, to run in the Knesset elections that year, hoping to obtain parliamentary immunity to avoid extradition to France. The list won 2% of the vote, enough for two seats. However, as it was a one-man list, only one seat was taken.

Once in the Knesset, Flatto-Sharon joined Menachem Begin's coalition and voted in favor of a law that prohibited the extradition of Israeli citizens. He ran for re-election in 1981, but this time failed to pass the electoral threshold.

In the early 1990s, after learning that he no longer had an Interpol warrant out for his arrest, Sharon flew to Italy on a business trip, but was arrested upon arrival in Rome. Facing possible extradition to France, he managed to return to Israel. Sharon eventually paid a large fine to settle his criminal case with the French authorities.

In recent years, Flatto-Sharon continued with his business, wrote several books, and until a year ago, on Fridays, hosted a radio program on Radius.