Rabbi Yehuda Amital, founder and former head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, passed away overnight Thursday at the age of 85. Amital was one of religious Zionism's foremost leaders and educators, whose moderate political approach led him to found the Meimad movement in 1988.
Born in Romania, Amital survived the Holocaust in a labor camp and in 1944 arrived in Palestine. He received rabbinical ordination at the Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and eventually moved to Rehovot to further his studies at the Kletzk Yeshiva.
Amital fought in the Independence War as a member of the Hagana. In the
years following, Amital worked at the Rehovot rabbinical court and in
the local Yeshivat Hadarom.
After the Six Day War, Amital founded the Har Etzion hesder Yeshiva in
Kfar Etzion, from where it eventually moved to Alon Shvut, and served as
its head. In 1971 Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein joined Amital as a second
In the wake of tensions in Israeli society following Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995, Amital was appointed as minister
without a portfolio, and served in the cabinet till 1996.
Amital officially stepped down as head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in
The funeral procession for Rabbi Amital was scheduled to take place at
noon on Friday. The procession will lead from the Shamgar funeral home
to the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.