The Israeli political establishment – from right to left – mourned the passing of Rabbi Hanan Porat Tuesday, with tributes pouring in from a wide array of political figures, from the Prime Minister on down. In a statement, Binyamin Netanyahu, referring to his key role in organizing and directing Gush Emunim, said that “Hanan Porat dedicated his life to the building of the Land of Israel, to the education of an entire generation of National Religious youth, and to fostering the love of the Land and People of Israel,” adding that he and the government expressed their “deep sorrow” at Porat's passing.
“As a member of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, which was rebuilt after being destroyed during the War of Independence, Hanan led the return to Gush Etzion. His contribution to the building of the Land, to education, and to Zionist education, are a singular example to all Israelis,” Netanyahu said.
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said that the Knesset expressed its sorrow over Porat's succumbing to cancer at age 67. “Rabbi Porat was a dedicated Zionist, a professional parliamentarian, and a dedicated builder of the Land of Israel,” Rivlin said.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said that Porat “was among those who contributed to the unshakeable reality of the growth of Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel.”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that “Rabbi Hanan Porat throughout his life radiated the light of the Torah of the Land of Israel. He paved a path at the forefront of Zionism for thousands of his students.”
Rabbi Porat's life and works were praised as well by those who, during his lifetime disagreed with his philosophy and activities. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that “Hanan Porat was a veteran IDF parachutist, one of the founders of Gush Emunim, and a member of the Knesset. All this he did with a great inner drive, straightforwardly and with boundless dedication. He was loyal to the Land of Israel and loved the Jewish people. Throughout his life he sought to bridge the gap between religious and secular Jews, and between right and left.”
Kadima head Tzipi Livni also eulogized Porat.
“Hanan Porat was one of the most important symbols of the religious settlement movement, and he succeeded, because of his personality and his special abilities, to become a bridge between different streams in Israeli politics. His decades-long political activity were an example of love of the Land and People of Israel. All of us – both those who followed him and those who disagreed with him – will miss him,” Livni said.