Eliyahu Kanovsky, one of Israel's leading authorities on the politics of oil in the Middle East, passed away this week in Jerusalem following a long illness.

Kanovsky was born in Winnipeg, Canada, in March 1922, and immigrated to Israel in 1973. He was a longtime professor of economics at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at the university's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

He was known internationally as the definitive authority on OPEC and the economies of the Middle East.

"He was a loyal colleague, a profound scholar and the ultimate gentleman - and he will be sorely missed," said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center. Daniel Levy, chairman of Bar-Ilan's economics department, said Kanovsky was a "highly valued faculty member ... a teacher, a scholar, a colleague and a friend."

A graduate of Columbia University, Kanovsky served as a fellow at Harvard and as visiting professor at Yeshiva University. After co-founding Bar-Ilan's economics department, he later also created the departmental Talmud study group, which analyzes issues at the intersection of Judaism and economics.

"He represented the synthesis of 'Torah uMadda' at its best," said Aryeh Frimer, a chemistry professor at Bar-Ilan, referring to a mix of Jewish tradition and modern scholarship. "He was ... the first to accurately predict the pending oil crisis of the 1970s."

Kanovsky is survived by his wife Tamar, his children Yakov, Nachman, Mechael, Gila Wertheimer and Hani Luz and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.