Former minister Yosef Shapira died at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Saturday at the age of 87.
Shapira served as a minister-without- portfolio on behalf of the right-wing religious Zionist Morasha faction in the 1980s even though he was not a Knesset member. Before that, he headed the religious Zionist Bnei Akiva youth movement for 20 years and the Jewish Agency’s Aliya Department.
For decades, Shapira was instrumental in helping Holocaust survivors and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. He founded the Na’aleh program that helps children from the FSU come to Israel ahead of their parents.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who served as an aide to Shapira when he was a minister, praised him for advancing religious Zionist education.
“I was by his side as he worked to advance construction throughout the land of Israel and strengthen aliya to Israel,” Ariel said. “I learned determination from him.”
Shapira was born in Jerusalem and lived in Kibbutz Ein Tzurim in Gush Etzion. His funeral arrangements were not available by press time.
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