Aharon Abuhatzeira, Former Israeli Minister and Longtime Lawmaker, Dies at 83

Ran Shimoni
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Aharon Abuhatzeira.
Aharon Abuhatzeira.Credit: Courtesy of family
Ran Shimoni

Former minister and lawmaker Aharon Abuhatzeira died on Tuesday at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Abuhatzeira, who was 83 years old, was a member of the National Religious Party, Tami and Likud parties between 1974 and 1992.

He served in a series of ministerial positions –religious affairs minister, labor minister, and immigration minister – between 1977 and 1982. Abuhatzeira will be buried in the city of Ramle, of which he was mayor during the 1970s. The time of his funeral had not been announced as of this article's publication.

Abuhatzeira was born in Morocco and was a graduate of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva in Israel. He was elected to the Knesset as the representative of the younger generation of the National Religious Party right after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Cabinet members in 1977, with Abuhatzeira second from right.Credit: Moshe Milner / Government Press Office

In 1980, he was indicted for allegedly receiving a bribe, prompting him to announce that he was giving up his immunity as a Knesset member and was ready to stand trial. He was acquitted, but was then indicted for several offenses of corruption and fraud. This time, he was convicted and sentenced to three months of community service. He then resigned from the cabinet but remained in the Knesset.

Abuhatzeira left the National Religious Party in 1981 to establish the short-lived Tami Party, arguing that his former party neglected its Mizrahi constituents.  Tami is considered by many people to be a forerunner of the Mizrahi ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which entered the Knesset three years later.  He later joined Likud.

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