1927-2020 |

Former Israeli Legislator and Prominent Settlement Leader Gershon Shafat Dies

One of the founders of the far-right Tehiya paty, he was dubbed ‘foreign minister’ of settler group Gush Emunim

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Former Knesset member Gershon Shafat, who helped lead the pro-settlement Gush Emunim movement and co-founded the Tehiya party, died Sunday at the age of 92.

During the 1970s Shefet was active in Gush Emunim, which was launched after the Yom Kippur War to settle Jews in the West Bank and Gaza out of sense of religious messianic fervor. He was the moveent’s diplomatic secretary, which led to his being dubbed its foreign minister.

Later he was among the founders of Tehiya with Geulah Cohen and was its general secretary. He was elected on its ticket to the 11th Knesset in 1984. He also served in the 12th Knesset when Yuval Ne’eman resigned, serving until 1992.

Shefet, formerly Shtaub, was born in Vienna in 1927 and emigrated to Mandatory Palestine with his family in 1934. The family lived first in Haifa, and moved to Tel Aviv during World War II. His father made sausages for a living.

Shefet graduated from the Moriah religious gymnasium in 1944, and as part of the Bnei Akiva youth movement was one of the founders of Biriya, near Safed. He left the Galilee in 1947 to help establish Kibbutz Ein Tzurim in the Etzion Bloc.

He was captured by the Jordanians during the War of Independence, when the Etzion Bloc fell. Upon returning to Israel in 1949 after 10 months in captivity, he re-established Ein Tzurim in its new location. He was late the secretary, treasurer and manager of the Tadmor leather company.