Minister Uri Orbach dies after battle with blood disease

54-year-old Bayit Yehudi MK's medical condition had worsened significantly on Sunday.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
February 16, 2015 12:34
3 minute read.
Uri Orbach

Uri Orbach. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi) died on Monday after doctors at a Jerusalem hospital had fought to save his life.

Officials at Shaare Zedek Medical Center said on Sunday that the 54-year-old's condition had worsened significantly.

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Orbach was hospitalized in late January for treatment of a rare blood disease from which he suffered.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin visited the minister on Sunday night before his death.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

His funeral will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Modi'in.

Netanyahu sent his condolences to Orbach's family. "I grieve the passing of Uri Orbach, a minister in the government of Israel, writer, journalist, spiritual man and Jewish patriot," Netanyahu said.

"I have never known anyone that met him and didn't love him. Yesterday, next to his family, I said goodbye to him at the hospital with a sense of profound grief and loss. Uri will be missed by his dear family, his fellow ministers, and the State of Israel."

Economy Minister Nafatli Bennett mourned the loss of his fellow Bayit Yehudi Minister,  saying, "My older brother has left me. Uri, a man of laughs and seriousness, of wisdom and honesty, of strength and vision."

"There was not a man as loved as Uri in the cynical and cold world of politics," Bennett added.

Zionist Union co-leaders Issac Herzog and Tzipi Livni expressed sorrow and pain at the newsof Orbach's death. "Uri was a wonderful character, who brought together all branches of Zionism and all of the Israelis. He was a public figure in the full sense of the term, who loved everyone," the pair said in a statement.


Orbach brought wit and humor to the Knesset alongside real and agrresive ideology, the statement added.

Shas leader MK Arye Deri expressed sorrow at the news of Orbach's death, sending condolences to his family.

"I was sorry to hear of the death of my friend the Minister Uri Orbach, who was perhaps the prime example of liveliness and unending love of life."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman remembered Orbach as someone with a deep love for country and people.

"Orbach was a central figure in the State of Israel in the past few decades and his huge influence on Israeli society will always remain," Liberman said. "Orbach succeeded in representing a large, important group in Israeli society and was a man who knew how to combine his love for the land of Israel with his love for the people of Israel. May his memory be a blessing."

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that "Uri possessed the qualities to bring together religious and secular, left and right, Jews and non-Jews. He never spoke harshly and always respected others. Even those he disagreed with."

Ya'alon added that Orbach had clear views that he stood up for, but he was tolerant and patient enough to listen to the opinions of others.

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid said "I will always remember my friend Uri Orbach as someone who worked hard for the elderly and retired in Israel," he said.

"Uri was an exemplary family man who saw all of Israel as his extended family. Despite the disagreements between us we had a real friendship, and I will miss him greatly."

Lapid sent his condolences to Orbach's wife Michal and their four children, saying "may you know no more sorrow."

A special session of the government will be held at 3:00 p.m. to memorialize the minister.

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