PM Mourns 'Zionist Torah Leader of Highest Order'

Netanyahu recalls granting Rabbi Lichtenstein Israel Prize, as Rivlin notes how he influenced 'the entire state of Israel.'

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar ,

Netanyahu applauds Rabbi Lichtenstein at conferring of Israel Prize
Netanyahu applauds Rabbi Lichtenstein at conferring of Israel Prize
Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined the voices eulogizing key religious Zionist leader Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, who passed away on Monday morning at the age of 81.

"The erudition of Rabbi Lichtenstein was given expression in his literary creativity, and it served generations of students," said Netanyahu of the rabbi, who was dean of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Judea's Gush Etzion.

Speaking about conferring the illustrious Israel Prize in Torah Literature to the rabbi in 2014, Netanyahu said "a year ago when I granted him the Israel Prize, I saw before my eyes a rabbi, a teacher, and a great educator. A modest man, deep-rooted, quick witted and sharp in his thinking."

"Rabbi Lichtenstein will be remembered as a Zionist Torah leader of the highest order, who raised on his knees many thousands of students at Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion," said Netanyahu. "He loved the land of Israel, the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel."

President Reuven Rivlin also spoke about rabbi Lichtenstein, saying he "was in the words of our sages 'a lion who arose from Babylon,'" referencing the fact that the rabbi was born in Paris before his family fled from the Holocaust to the US, and from there he made aliyah (immigration) to Israel.

Rivlin described the rabbi as "a great Torah force, a man of morals, a Torah great, a winner of the Israel Prize for Torah Literature, who established together with Rabbi (Yehuda) Amital z'''l an entire world of Torah (at Har Etzion Yeshiva)."

"His public personality imprinted its seal on religious Zionism and on the entire state of Israel," said Rivlin. "I hope that his Torah and heritage will continue to guide our path. My condolences are with his family and his many students."