JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yossi Sarid, a former left-wing Israeli government minister, was buried in Israel in a civil ceremony.
Hundreds attended the funeral Sunday in central Israel for Sarid, a one-time leader of the Meretz party. He died of a heart attack two days earlier at his home. Sarid was 75.
“He was always worried about something and the burden of the whole world was on his shoulders. Now he is resting,” his son, Yishai, said at the grave, according to Israel’s Channel 2.
Author Amos Oz said in his eulogy: “His voice accompanied us, a voice that kept reminding us that there is no conflict between justice and political intelligence. There is no contradiction between love for Israel and the hope for peace, and vice versa.”
Sarid served in nine Knessets for 32 years between 1974 and 2006, first for the Labor Alignment party and then Meretz. He served stints as education minister and environment minister in the governments of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak.
He began his political career as a speechwriter and diplomatic adviser to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol after serving as a military correspondent for Israel Radio and Davar newspaper, and before that a member of the artillery corps in Israel’s army.
After retiring from politics in 2006, Sarid began writing weekly columns for the Haaretz newspaper.
“Yossi Sarid had a unique voice in Israeli politics; he was opinionated and sharp,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued after Sarid’s death. “Even though we disagreed on many issues, I appreciated his devotion to his path, his broad knowledge and the meticulous Hebrew with which he spoke and wrote.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in a statement called Sarid one of Israel’s leading parliamentarians and politicians.
“He was a fierce, challenging, and faithful fighter for his beliefs,” Rivlin said. “Even when his criticisms were sharp and harsh, he always related to his opponents with great seriousness and respect, even when they emphatically opposed what he said.”
He is survived by his wife, Dorit, their three children and grandchildren.