Kadima MK, Former Minister Dies at 67

The prime minister calls MK Ze'ev Boim 'one of the best Knesset members'.

Kadima Knesset member and former minister Ze'ev Boim died Friday at age 67. He was in a Milwaukee hospital, having fought a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Despite his illness, Boim was in the Knesset between treatments and blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government at every opportunity.

boim - Tomer Appelbaum - March 20 2011
Tomer Appelbaum

"Boim was one of the best Knesset members," Netanyahu said in a statement over the weekend. The prime minister said the MK "represented an ideological generation and was a true Zionist and patriot. He served the State of Israel faithfully for dozens of years."

Opposition and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said she "grieved at the death of my friend. Ze'evik represented the values Zionism is based on. He loved this country and its people and was man of conscience, straight as an arrow."

Livni said, "Israel has lost one of its best sons and leaders today. Kadima is proud he chose to represent it in his life and proud of winning him. Kadima and all its members, activists and supporters mourn him. We will miss him as a friend, a colleague and an exemplary figure."

Boim, one of the founders of Nahlat Jabotinsky - a community established by the Herut party for members of the Irgun [the community later became part of Binyamina], began his career as an educator, and was the principal at the Rogozin School in Kiryat Gat. He left teaching for politics, becoming mayor of Kiryat Gat for 13 years.

In 1996, Boim joined the Knesset, serving in the 14th through the 18th Knessets as a member of Likud and later as a member of the breakaway party Kadima.

He served in several capacities during his time in government, acting as coalition chairman, Likud chairman during Ariel Sharon's government, deputy minister of defense, minister of immigration and absorption, minister of agriculture and minister of housing and construction.

In his last Knesset term, as a member of Kadima, he was chairman of the subcommittee on home front readiness. This post will be filled by Dr. Doron Avital, a former commander in an elite army commando unit.

Kadima faction whip MK Dalia Itzik said that "the Israeli public grieves the passing of one of the noblest, worthiest and most honest men in the political system. Boim will always be remembered as a friend, an educator, a man of books, a ground-breaking mayor, a talented minister and a Zionist patriot. In the past year, it was impossible not to admire his battle against disease and his ability to persist in his parliamentary work even in difficult moments, maintaining optimism and a smile."

MK Shaul Mofaz, the chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, spoke of Boim as "a dear friend, a true ideological partner and a brave man who fought for his beliefs to his last day. Boim was a man of vision and action, an honest, creative man who always put the country's good first."