Yaakov Hagoel (L) and Matti Drobles
Yaakov Hagoel (L) and Matti Drobles Revital Toders

Matityahu "Matti" Drobles, a former MK and chairman of the Jewish Agency's settlement department, who worked hard to develop the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, passed away on Sunday at the age of 87.

Drobles served a member of the Knesset for the Gahal and Likud parties between 1972 and 1977.

Born in Warsaw in Poland in 1931, Drobles was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto and later lived in the woods during World War II. He made Aliyah to Israel in 1950, where he was among the founders of moshav Mevo Beitar, and was a member of the Mishkei Herut Beitar settlement movement, serving as its representative to immigrant communities around Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Between 1962 and 1973 he was deputy chairman of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council.

Drobles was on the Gahal list for the 1969 Knesset elections. He failed to win a seat, but entered the Knesset in 1972 as a replacement for the deceased Yosef Sapir. He was re-elected in 1973, but lost his seat in the 1977 elections.

In 1978, Drobles became a member of the board of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization, serving as chairman of the WZO's settlement department from 1978 until 1992. In 1992 he became head of the Zionist Archives.

In 2011 he lit a torch during the torchlighting ceremony in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day).

Just last Thursday, Drobles received an award at an Aliyah conference of the World Likud movement and Beitar held at the Plaza Hotel in Netanya.

Yaakov Hagoel, Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, eulogized Drobles and said, “Drobles is a wonderful example of a true Zionist who fought for the homeland. A person who experienced the terrible Holocaust and survived with all his might in order to reach his destination and even served in significant positions so that each and every one of us will enjoy such a beautiful country.”

"Drobles symbolizes the beautiful Land of Israel, the salt of the earth. Last week we were privileged to honor him at a conference which symbolizes something that is very similar to Drobles, Aliyah to Eretz Israel."

Hagoel added, "We will study the legacy of Drobles, who is another example of the people who fought hard so that we would enjoy a state like the State of Israel.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said, "I send my condolences to the Drobles family over the death of former MK Matti Drobles, one of the pillars of settlement in the Land of Israel and a leading figure in our movement, the Likud.”