Israeli actor and comedian Sefi Rivlin passed away on Tuesday evening at the age of 66.
Rivlin, who for years battled throat cancer and lost his voice to the disease in the past year, had been hospitalized in recent weeks at the Tel Hashomer Hospital, where he was connected to a respirator following a deterioration in his condition.
He was one of Israel’s most important and successful comedians, having won an Israeli Television Academy Award and a prize for lifetime achievement.
Rivlin participated in a slew of children’s television shows as well as in satirical programs.
He was member of the Likud party and, during the 1981 and 1984 elections, starred in the party’s advertisements. In 2008 Rivlin even tried to run for the Knesset on the Likud list, but was not placed in a realistic spot. For several years, he was a member of the Rishon LeZion City Council.
Sefi Rivlin is survived by his wife, Rina, four children and seven grandchildren.
He was a third cousin of Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, who said on Tuesday evening, “Sefi was the most serious comedian I ever knew. His works and performances brought us laughter and excited us to tears. Sefi’s family made aliyah with Ze'ev Jabotinsky. He loved his country and his people, was always full of faith, warmth and infinite empathy.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences over Rivlin’s death and said, "Along with many others I am sad over the loss of my friend Sefi Rivlin. Sefi was a loved artist who, with his funny humor, made generations of Israelis laugh. He had solid nationalistic views. Alongside this he was always open to dialogue and friendship with those who had opinions different than his.”
Netanyahu added, “Sefi was a man of values, of principle, educated, sharp and kind. He fought his illness bravely for many years and with a spirit of optimism and hope, which always characterized him. He will be missed by me and the people of Israel very much.”