Sorely missed: Uri Orbach
Sorely missed: Uri OrbachYossi Zamir/Flash 90

Minister Uri Orbach, who was an active and highly visible politician in his final years, and one of the most prominent leaders of the religious Zionist public, will always remain a journalist in my mind.

Years ago, when I was starting my path in the media, I used to ride the bus with him, every morning, on Egged Line 480, to the Radio Kol Hai studio in Bnei Brak.

The station was taking its first steps at the time, and talking to him during the morning bus rides was part of my own media education.

Uri had a delicate sense of irony coupled with very strict professionalism. He appreciated professionalism in general, and media professionalism in particular, and never hesitated to express criticism when it was due.

Once, we noticed that the passenger near us was studiously reading Orbach's column in Yedioth Aharonoth. With a slightly embarrassed smile, Orbach told me how exciting moments like this are for him.

Many remember Uri's mythological article in Nekuda, in which he called upon “the best” religious-Zionist youths to enter the ranks of the media. But not everyone is familiar with many other actions he took to instill in the hearts of religious Zionist youths the understanding that the media is the central arena from which the Israeli national psyche can be affected.

When we established 'The Seventh Empire', Arutz Sheva's media school, Uri was very happy, mostly because he saw it as proof that his message had seeped in, and that religious Zionist youths who were interested in a media career would receive the best possible training.

Uri had a sharp tongue, but even when he criticized you, his criticism was never malignant, and he never spared a kind word from a person who needed it, either.

The religious Zionist public will miss Uri, who truly left us before his time was due, and the media people among us will miss a man who was our mentor.