YEHIEL KADISHAI 370.
(photo credit: Prime Minister’s Office)
passed away suddenly on Saturday at the age of 91.
He was Prime Minister
Menachem Begin’s friend, adviser, sounding board and executive
He grew up in Israel, served in the British Army and at the end
of the second world war was responsible for helping the survivors of the
Holocaust emigrate to Israel. He served in Italy and was responsible for
mobilizing and training troops for the Etzel.
In 1977, after many years
of working closely with Begin, he became chief of staff in the newly elected
Likud government and the chief adviser to the prime minister. They had become
very close friends and he was the prime minister’s most important
Yechiel was the now the center of action in the prime minister’s
He was a quiet man, who created very few waves, but was in
complete control of the situation and able to make and implement major local,
national and international decisions.
He was Begin’s sounding board and
his gentle advice often swayed decisions, which he then executed
He followed and guided the prime minister in the formation of
a complex cabinet, dealt with the different and often conflicting programs of
their members, their retirements, the formation and introduction of new members,
and the day-today problems of running the prime minister’s office and the
His door was always open and the simplest person who made a
request found a responsive ear. Despite his heavy administrative burden, he
found time to deal with and resolve simple personal problems of the ordinary
Israeli citizen who had no “protection.”
He was simple and unobtrusive
but wielded enormous power.
He accompanied the prime minister in the
office, Knesset and abroad, dealing with all the major and trivial problems that
He helped and guided the prime minister through the negotiations
with Egypt, the difficult discussions with Anwar Sadat, the Sinai accord, the
negotiations with president Jimmy Carter and the Camp David agreement.
was at his side throughout the Lebanese war and the internecine strife among the
Public opinion was that Begin would not return for a
second term of office, but Kadishai supported him to win the second
The death of the prime minister’s wife placed a heavy burden on
the Begin and Kadishai continued to support him and push him
When Begin felt the burden of office was too great, Kadishai
followed him into retirement and continued to be at his side until he passed
away in 1992.
He continued his philanthropic work and helped to raise the
funds to build major new buildings at Asaf Harofeh Hospital.
He was the
guiding light in building the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
remember him as a gentle, quiet and scrupulously honest person who had great
insight and understanding and was the powerful anchor of the Israeli political
world during the Begin regime. He was a humble, but very effective public
servant who devoted his life to his country.The author, emeritus
director of cardiology at the Hadassah University Hospital, was personal
physician to prime minister Menachem Begin while he lived in Jerusalem.