Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, one of the most senior and respected figures in the national-religious movement, died on Saturday night at age 98.
Zuckerman founded the first Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Kfar Haroeh with Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria, another national-religious luminary, and was the founder of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva network.
The network currently consists of 60 institutions around the country, including yeshiva high schools, hesder yeshivot, seminaries for women, and high schools, with 20,000 pupils and 60,000 graduates.
Born in Lithuania in 1915, Zuckerman emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1936 and established the yeshiva in Kfar Haroeh, north of Netanya, in 1940.
While encouraging and emphasizing Torah study, Zuckerman was also an advocate for secular learning and the acquisition of a academic qualifications as part of the principle in Jewish law that a father is obligated to teach his son a trade.
In the 2013 general election, Zuckerman was given the symbolic 80th position on the Bayit Yehudi electoral list.
Deputy Minister for Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben- Dahan of Bayit Yehudi described the rabbi as “a Torah sage who had raised generations of Torah sages” and who had advanced the path of religious Zionism.
Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev, a student of Zuckerman, described the late rabbi as a “genius and expert in Torah,” and “a giant in ethical behavior and character.”
“Where are there other people like Rabbi Zuckerman?” wrote Yogev in a statement to the press.
“Every meeting and conversation with him was an education and an instruction for life. Rabbi Zuckerman has great credit in the building of Torah in the Land of Israel and in the spiritual and practical foundations of thousands of students, male and female. All of Israel will mourn the passing of Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman.”
The rabbi was buried in Kfar Haroeh on Sunday afternoon. He is survived by his wife, five children, 36 grandchildren, and more than 100 great grandchildren.