The spiritual head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, passed away early on Monday.
Since the death of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef eight years ago, Cohen has presided over the group and its Council of Torah Sages.
How did Shalom Cohen die?
Cohen previously served as the head of the prestigious ultra-Orthodox Porat Yosef yeshiva.
Isaac Herzog lauded the rabbi as “a spiritual leader who quietly and modestly led a big and important public in Israel.”
In Jerusalem, his funeral is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. from the yeshiva he oversaw for many years, “Porat Yosef.”
Roads will be closed, and police and emergency services will be on high alert due to the expected participation of thousands of mourners.
Until after the funeral, light rail construction along Bar Ilan Street in Jerusalem will cease.
Shalom Cohen cause of death
After being admitted to the hospital a few days prior, Cohen’s health got worse. All day Sunday, prayers for his recovery were said.
The rabbi was admitted to the hospital a few days ago at Hadassah Ein Kerem for a leg infection.
However, according to Walla, his condition deteriorated during the weekend. Due to his critical state, the rabbi was moved to the intensive care unit and put under sedation.
Many people prayed for his well-being and for his recovery when he was hospitalised.
In 2:00 p.m., his funeral service will get under way at Jerusalem’s Porat Yosef synagogue. Numerous police officers will be on hand as thousands of supporters are predicted.
Who was Rabbi Shalom Cohen?
Since the death of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef eight years ago, Cohen has presided over the group and its Council of Torah Sages. Cohen was the head of the famed ultra-Orthodox Porat Yosef yeshiva.
In addition, Cohen oversaw the Porat Yosef Yeshiva religious school in Jerusalem. He leaves behind three daughters and five sons.
Cohen’s passing was announced by Aryeh Deri, the chairman of the Shas party, who referred to him as “our father, our teacher, and our leader.”
Cohen’s passing was compared by Deri to “a ship losing its commander.” Rabbinical councils serve as the overarching policy advisors for the groups within ultra-Orthodox parties.
Deri omitted to mention the cause of death. Cohen had been hospitalised recently for a leg infection after spending the previous year going in and out.
His health has gotten worse recently, prompting prayers from ultra-Orthodox leaders and political rival Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
In the Sanhedria cemetery in Jerusalem, Cohen will be buried alongside his wife and next to the grave of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Shas spiritual guide who passed away in 2013.
Cohen was outspoken in his political views and frequently criticised politicians who supported positions contrary to those of his party. He also vehemently opposed forcing ultra-Orthodox men to serve in the military.
Along with other Haredi lawmakers, Cohen and his Shas party demonised the Bennett-Lapid administration’s former minister of religious affairs, Matan Kahana, who attempted to make significant changes to religious legislation.
Shalom Cohen Biography
Cohen’s father, a rabbi who oversaw a yeshiva in the holy city, was born there in Jerusalem in 1931.
Cohen attended Porat Yosef Yeshiva as a young man and later worked as a teacher there before taking over as the institution’s head.
When the Shas party made its entrance into Jerusalem’s municipal politics in the early 1980s, he was one of its first outspoken supporters. In 1984, Cohen joined the Council of Sages of the party.
According to Channel 12, Ovadia Yosef’s son Rabbi Yizhak Yosef will take Cohen’s seat on the council. Next year, when his controversial 10-year tenure as chief rabbi of Israel’s Sephardi community comes to an end, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef will be free to join Shas.
Rabbi Shalom Cohen career
Prior to losing some support after Yosef’s passing, Shas was long regarded as a kingmaker in Israeli politics. From 1996 until the 2015 elections, Shas won 10 or more Knesset seats, and it frequently formed part of the ruling coalition. The party, which has historically supported Netanyahu and the Likud movement, joined the opposition last year.
Shas finished with nine seats in the most recent election, making it the second-largest opposition party behind Likud. In the upcoming election in November, Shas is predicted to win about eight seats.
In order to maintain Shas distinct from other ultra-Orthodox groups, Cohen rejected a 2019 merger with United Torah Judaism.
Tribute to Rabbi Shalom Cohen death
Arye Deri, the party’s leader, appointed Shalom to lead the religious council of the ultra-Orthodox party. The president, prime minister, and opposition leader were among those who paid tribute to Shalom. Police and emergency services in Jerusalem prepare for large funeral attendance
Prime Minister Yair Lapid eulogized Cohen said,
“I express my condolences to his family, his pupils, and everyone who is paying tribute to his memory on behalf of the Israeli government and the entire Israeli people. Our unity is our strength. May the All-Merciful One keep him under his wing protection for all time and cinch his soul to the cord of life. May he be blessed in memory.”
President Isaac Herzog said,
He was a spiritual leader who, in addition to being a profound scholar of the Torah, led a sizable and influential audience in Israel and the Jewish world in humility and modesty. Every time we met, I could sense his love for Jerusalem and our shared commitment to treating everyone with respect. My sympathies go out to his family, the Shas party, his close friends, and his pupils.
He had outstanding Torah knowledge as well as spiritual and social leadership that had a profound effect on many Jews and Israelis.
Other lawmakers from various political parties and ideologies have released comments paying tribute to Cohen.
President Isaac Herzog stated of a temporary home erected by Jews for the Sukkot holiday, “We met many times, and I am sorry that this year I will not be able to keep the practise of visiting him in his sukkah.
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