Death of Rabbi Chaim Drukman, spiritual leader of religious Zionism
Rabbi Haim Drukman, the spiritual leader of religious Zionism in Israel, died Sunday evening from Covid-19, at the age of 90, Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem announced.
Mentor of MK Betzalel Smotrich, who is to be appointed finance minister in Binyamin Netanyahu’s next government, Rabbi Drukman was for decades the most important religious figure in the Zionist religious current, which represents around 12% of the Israeli Jewish population. . “The Jewish people lose one of the spiritual giants of his generation, a righteous man, an educator, a man who dedicated his life to the Torah, to the Jewish people and to the land of Israel“said Betzalel Smotrich in a press release.
Israeli Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the family, saying that “the State of Israel had lost a great spiritual leader, and I lost a personal friend whom I held dear“.
Born in 1932 in Poland, he escaped deportation during the Second World War and immigrated to Palestine in 1944 under British mandate. A student of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, the spiritual leader of the Gush emounim (faith bloc), the movement that founded the settlements in the occupied West Bank after the 1967 war, he is considered one of his successors since the 1990s He entered politics in 1977 with the National Religious Party (NRP), an ally of Menachem Begin’s Likud, and had served in the Knesset (parliament) for 14 years.
Responsible for conversions to Judaism in the Prime Minister’s office in the late 1990s, he advocated a more liberal policy than that imposed by the Israeli rabbinate, run by ultra-Orthodox. In 1993, he was injured by a Palestinian shooting at his car, an attack in which his driver was killed. He received the prestigious Israel Prize in 2012 for his contribution to society.
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