Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon said that the "nation of Israel has lost a great rabbi, an unmatched and sharp authority" and expressed great sorrow at the passing of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the leading rabbi of the Ashkenazi haredi community, who died Wednesday afternoon at Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center, aged 102.
Netanyahu added that Rabbi Elyashiv had left a deep imprint on the haredi world and on the Jewish world as a whole.
The prime minister noted that Rabbi Elyashiv's values included "a love of Torah, a love of human beings, modesty and guarding the holiness of human life."
Other prominent Israeli leaders also mourned Rabbi Elyashiv's passing.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, President Shimon Peres wrote that "an outstanding and distinguished leader, an expert in Halacha, a great man among his people, a Torah genius who left his mark on the Jewish world and contributed to bridging the different streams in Judaism has gone to his final resting place."
Rabbi Elyashiv was a "modest individual with far reaching vision, a great scholar and a pious man," wrote Peres.
Peres added that Rabbi Elyashiv will be remembered as someone who "even when his body was weak retained his strength of mind and spirit, and continued to immerse himself in Torah."
The president also said that Rabbi Elyashiv "rulings have provided enlightenment in the life of the nation, and his spiritual influence will continue to guide us."
Peres concluded his statement noting that, "I am united with his family and with the Jewish world in mourning his demise."
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