Elyakim Haetzni
Elyakim HaetzniGershon Elinson

Former Knesset member and "Tehiya" movement member, who helped renew the Jewish settlement of Judea and Samaria, Attorney Elyakim Haetzni died on Sunday at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, he was 96.

He will be laid to rest on Monday at 2:00 PM in Hevron.

Former prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu eulogized: "I wish to express my deep sorrow on the passing of Elyakim Haetzni of blessed memory. One of the outstanding figures in the settlement of Judea and Samaria. The love of the Land of Israel that ran through his veins will always serve as a light to his memory. My deepest condolences go out to his family."

Haetzni was born in Germany and immigrated with his family to Israel after Kristallnacht. His family settled in Jerusalem where Elyakim studied in a religious school and a religious teacher's seminary. He studied law at the Hebrew University from which he graduated with honors and was licensed as an attorney.

Haetzni was an activist for the leftwing Mapai party and a member of the Hagana underground. During the war of independence, he was severely wounded by Jordanian shelling. He was one of the founders of the "Greater Israel" movement. He was one of the initiators of the resettlement of Judea and Samaria, and in 1972 he moved his family from Ramat Gan to the Kiryat Arba suburb of Hevron.

Haetzni was a member of the Yesha Council but left it before the disengagement from Gush Katif due to his opposition to the council's plan to infiltrate Gush Katif during the protest against the plan.

He leaves behind three sons: Boaz, Nadav, and Yishai. His granddaughter Sarah Haetzni-Cohen leads the "My Israel Movement. This year, Elyakim received the Israel National News and Basheva Newspaper "Jerusalem Prize".

Kiryat Arba-Hevron local council head eulogized the long-time resident stating: "A heavy sense of mourning has fallen on Kiryat Arba-Hevron, Judea and Samaria, and all of Israel tonight with the passing of Attorney Elyakim Haetzni. Haetzni of blessed memory was a founding father of the settlement movement, a man of leadership and kindness. A humble and modest man who always put public matters first. Elyakim was loved by the public, he would spread peace and would unite communities. He stayed dedicated to the people of Israel and the state of Israel until his last day, It is a sad evening for the settlement movement.