Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Dovid Azulai z”l

David Azulai
MK David Azulai, z”l, in the Knesset in 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Minister of Religious Affairs, Dovid Azulai, z”l, passed away on Tuesday afternoon after a long illness. He was 64.

Azulai served as a member of Knesset for the Shas party from 1996. He held various posts, including Deputy Minister of the Interior, chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, as well as the Religious Affairs portfolio.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday: “David served for more than two decades as an MK and initiated many laws whose goal was to better the lives of the citizens of the state,” said Netanyahu.

“He was an excellent and diligent minister who was friendly to everyone loved peace and pursued peace.”

Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, the Shas leader with whom Azulai worked for years, said on Tuesday, “I am crying for my beloved friend who has partnered with me on my way for decades, Rabbi David Azoulai, who has died after great suffering just 64 years old.

“Reb David was the straight, the modest, a man of kindness, a man of deeds, a true righteous man, has died and left his family, the Shas family, and all the house of Israel is hurting and lacking. May his memory be a blessing.”

President Reuven Rivlin said he was greatly saddened to hear of Azoulai’s passing and that he had been a faithful public servant.

“David was one of the politicians most connected to all the tribes of Israel,” said Rivlin.

“He was a man of Akko, his town, who faithfully dealt with the needs of the public his whole life, along with his endless devotion to his wonderful family. Recently, he dealt bravely with his illness but made sure to serve the public as far as he could. We will carry his memory in our hearts.”
He was born in 1954 in Morocco, a descendant of the illustrious talmid chacham Chid”a, Rav Chaim Dovid Azulai.

He arrived in Eretz Yisrael with his family at the age of 9. After graduating from a religious high school, he served in the army as a combat medical officer. From 1978 to 1993, he was elected to the local council of the city of Akko.

During his 20 years in the Knesset, Azulai introduced some 780 legislative proposals, including for public housing, provisions for the disabled, and employment in the chareidi sector.

Azulai is survived by his wife Pnina yblc”t, and 4 children.

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