The Cabinet convened on Wednesday evening for a special session at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, in memory of Minister David Azoulay, who passed away on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began the meeting and said, "When I heard of the passing of our dear friend, David Azoulay, I was struck by a very deep sadness. I discovered that you all felt the same, in your hearts, because David Azoulay had a special personality, very quiet but very penetrating. An MK, a minister, all of these formal titles, none of them are adequate for his personality and his image. He was a true public servant. He loved people, brightened faces, was attentive to the needs of his fellow man and the public, a man of truth and lovingkindness, conspicuous in his modesty.”
“He was always connected to his roots. He was born in Morocco, immigrated to Israel at age nine, and carved out his own path. He was educated in the Torah of Israel and respected Israel's great Torah scholars. Before he was in the Knesset, he was a man of education who conquered the hearts of his students and imbued them with these things – love of Israel, in dialogue. He was a man of dialogue and mutual respect. He brought this with him to the Knesset and the Government, these same exact qualities,” continued Netanyahu.
Azoulay, said the prime minister, “was responsible for many important laws the purpose of which was to benefit his fellow man, to benefit the weak. He dealt with the rights of others and the concerns of needy families. He helped handicapped children and the people who were evacuated from Gush Katif. He aided many new immigrants from Ethiopia. As Religious Services Minister, he saw as his mission, which he took up with holy awe, to make religious services accessible to the public at large, not just the religious public, but all Israel.”
“David sat here in meetings and I looked at him; he was very interesting to look at. He did not speak much but when he spoke it was always substantive and to the point. He behaved according to the rule, a golden rule – say little and do much. I would always look, if he had something to say, I would always listen to him because he always touched on some point, not often, but he made his point,” Netanyahu added.
“He always aspired to avoid disagreements. He sought to bridge, to find the middle ground. But when there was something that was very important to him, and which was not agreed upon, he did not refrain from struggling. He would surprise with his fighting spirit. I very much esteemed this; I cannot say that I always agreed with him, in most cases but not all, but I also knew that he spoke from the depths of his heart. I appreciated his integrity and the fact that he was a man of true principles. This is who he was. There was nothing phony about him; everything was genuine.”
“He drew his strength from his family. I know that he always made the time to talk to his mother, I think almost every day, with his wife Pnina and with his children. He was proud when his son Yinon entered the Knesset; there was no one prouder and the torch of service as passed from generation to generation. Of this it is said , ‘He restored the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.’"
“May his memory be for a blessing. From here I would like to send the condolences of the entire Government to his beloved family and we do this on behalf of the people of Israel," concluded Netanyahu.