Israel mourns Rabbi Drukman: 'Devoted his life to the Jewish people'

"The Torah of Israel, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel stood before his eyes day by day, hour by hour," Herzog said in a heartfelt message.

 Rabbi Haim Drukman (photo credit: ROI HOCHHIZOR/OR ETZION YESHIVA)
Rabbi Haim Drukman
(photo credit: ROI HOCHHIZOR/OR ETZION YESHIVA)

Eulogies and condolences from Israeli politicians, religious figures and organizations poured in on Sunday night following the death of Rabbi Haim Drukman aged 90.

Drukman, a former politician and the spiritual leader of Israel's religious Zionist sector, "devoted his life to the cause of the State of Israel and the Jewish people," President Isaac Herzog said in a heartfelt message mourning Drukman, sent shortly after the announcement of his passing.

Herzog added, "The Torah of Israel, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel stood before his eyes day by day, hour by hour, and he devoted his life to the cause of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I have been in a warm and close relationship with him over the years and I have always drawn important and educated insights from him and I have told him, his family and his loved ones this more than once."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid released a short statement in recognition of the rabbi's long history, saying, "Holocaust survivor, founder of Or Etzion yeshiva, scholar, winner of the Israel Prize, and a person who loves Israel. May his memory be a blessing."

Netanyahu: A great light of love for Israel went out today

Incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his sadness at the loss of the rabbi. "A great light of love for Israel went out today," he said. "As someone who personally experienced the horrors of the Holocaust as a child, Rabbi Drukman devoted himself to the building of the nation when he immigrated to Israel... His extensive activity as a member of the Knesset reflected his being not only a representative of the sector he represented but a loyal messenger of the general public in Israeli society."

Rabbi Haim Drukman attends the campaign launch of the right-wing Yamina party, ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 12, 2020.  (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)Rabbi Haim Drukman attends the campaign launch of the right-wing Yamina party, ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 12, 2020. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

"Rabbi Haim Meir Druckman passed into a world that is all good," said Religious Zionist Party MK Orit Strock on Twitter. "At the height of the Hanukkah holiday, we say goodbye to the rabbi who illuminated the life of an entire generation with the light of love for the Torah, the people and the land. His special light will shine on us from now on."

"The rabbi led the movement for decades with genius, strength and humility and was the spiritual uplifter of thousands of its graduates," the Bnei Akiva movement said in a statement on Sunday evening. "The rabbi led the movement in every area where the movement needed him - participation in the national executive board, educational and spiritual consultations, joint activities with all members of the movement, and more. The image of the rabbi with the face mask and the movement shirt brings out his unique place in leading the way of Torah and in building a generation that is loyal and devoted to his people, his Torah and his country."

Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau also mourned the loss of Drukman, recognizing him as a "great man who, for 90 years of his life, taught, educated and brought Jews closer to faith in the Creator. And out of the great love of the Torah, he loved every person from Israel, every pebble upon the land of Israel, and every letter in the Torah of Israel, and in these three perfections, he educated and raised generations that will continue to learn and to see the great light shining before their eyes."

"The crown of our head has fallen," said RZP leader Bezalel Smotrich. "In recent years, I have been privileged to be under the rabbi's shadow and to learn public leadership from his wisdom, humility, righteousness and leadership... The rabbi lived with great devotion for Klal Yisrael all his life, and even in the last few weeks I was privileged to join the rabbi for conversation and advice in the wee hours of the night."

"The rabbi was a man of faith, devoted to the State of Israel and the Zionist idea," said Defense Minister Benny Gantz following the announcement of Drukman's passing. "I had the privilege of helping to maintain the operation of the military boarding school in Or Etzion with the rabbi's encouragement, and I always found him a listening ear. I met with him in the last few months, and I was privileged to see him sharp-minded and determined as always in the fervor of his faith."

"Rabbi Haim Drukman... is a model of educational responsibility and halachic responsibility," said Beit Shemesh mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch. "The rabbi's teaching will continue to lead in the world of Torah and in the field of education and many will continue to walk in his paths and walk into his light."

Religious orgs., yeshivas mourn loss of leader

The Tzohar rabbinic organization also expressed its condolences for the loss of Drukman, saying, "It is not for nothing that Rabbi Drukman had the rare and unusual privilege of being under consensus at all ends of the sector and outside of it. [He was] a man with a vision who influenced the fate of the State of Israel and Judaism and had a huge part in the spiritual and physical world of the Zionist yeshiva. Even in his lifetime, he was able to influence and educate generations of young men and women, and for many years to come, his influence will continue to protect the generations to come."

The Global Mizrahi Movement's chairman, Rabbi Doron Peretz, said that he "had the privilege of studying at the Or Etzion Yeshiva and crouching under the rabbi's shadow, learning from his Torah and his huge personality... We send our condolences to the rabbi and his children and descendants, and to all his students and admirers."

"The 'Or Etzion' yeshiva, which Drukman headed for over six decades, said it "bitterly mourns the great loss" of Rabbi Drukman, the yeshiva announced Sunday evening. The funeral for Rabbi Drukman will take place on Monday in Meso'ot Yitzhak, it was confirmed shortly after his death.

This is a developing story.