Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, Dies; Gush Emunim Spiritual Leader

Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, who was the spiritual heir of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook of the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem and was one of the prominent leaders and thinkers of the Zionist nation-religious movement, died last Friday in Jerusalem.

He was 85.

Yisraeli, a lifelong follower of Kook, the son of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, was known as a great scholar since his youth.

He was particularly known for his rulings on security and settlement issues. He wrote several books on these subjects, receiving the prestigious Israel Prize in 1990 for his contribution to Jewish thought.

After Kook’s death, Yisraeli became the head of the yeshiva as well as the spiritual leader of Gush Emunim, the nation-religious settlement movement.

Recently, Yisraeli teamed up with former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neriah, founder of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school system, to issue a halachic edict requiring soldiers to disobey orders to evacuate any parts of “Greater Eretz Israel,” namely the territories Israel controls as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War.

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