Aharon Yadlin, a former education minister and long-time MK who was a pioneer in the movement to settle the Negev Desert, died on Friday at the age of 96.
Among the founders of Kibbutz Be’eri on the border of the Gaza Strip, Yadlin served in the Palmah during the War of Independence. In the 1950s, he was a member of the Histadrut labor federation’s executive committee and was one of the founders of Beit Berl Academic College.
From 1964 to 1972 he was chairman of the Mapai Party’s public committee for youth movements.
In 1960, Yadlin entered the fourth Knesset and served as an MK until 1979 as an MK of Mapai and then the Labor Party, alone or when they were in alignments with other parties. From 1972 to 1974 he was secretary-general of Labor, and from 1974 to 1977 he served as education minister.
Yadlin also served as secretary-general of the United Kibbutz Movement.
Reactions throughout Israel
"A leader by virtue of his personality and values, one of the pioneers of settlement in the Negev, one of the leaders of the Labor movement, a stickler for equality, Zionism and human value. An educator and teacher, a wise and humble man whose mouth and heart are equal."Amos Yadlin
“A leader by virtue of his personality and values, one of the pioneers of settlement in the Negev, one of the leaders of the Labor movement, a stickler for equality, Zionism and human value,” tweeted his son, Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin. He wrote that his father was “an educator and teacher, a wise and humble man whose mouth and heart are equal.”
Labor Party leader Meirav Michaeli eulogized Yadlin on Friday, stating, “The death of Aharon Yadlin is the end of a very significant chapter. Aharon is one of the last who lived among us and who remained in the Labor Party after all the recent years and the upheavals the party went through.” He was “a man who was humble in the most genuine way and believed deeply in the way of the Labor Party, in the path of what we keep repeating over and over again – the path of the Declaration of Independence,” she said.
“This is reflected in endless public service, a lifetime of public service, in all the movements that made up the labor movement and the Labor Party, whether in the kibbutzim or in his public service as a member of the Knesset, as minister of education and as someone who won the Israel Prize,” which he won in 2010.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that “Yadlin, who led with the concept that education must be the top priority of the State of Israel, cared for the children’s future, invested the best of his years in education and was one of the founders of Beit Berl, which continues his path in education studies.”
Lapid expressed his condolences to Yadlin’s family. “You have been blessed with a father and grandfather for many years, an example and a role model – and you continue his path in your public mission.”
“Aharon was our ‘tribal elder,’” Kibbutz Movement secretary-general Nir Meir said. “In his many kibbutz and public roles, he always maintained common sense and great modesty, and spoke ‘at eye level’ with all his interlocutors – from leaders and rulers to the boys of the youth movements. His broad vision and wisdom served the secretaries of the kibbutz movement for generations.
“We will miss him very much.”