Ori Orbach , Knesset Member and minister of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, died around noon Monday. He will be buried at 4:30 p.m. in his home city of Modi’in, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
He was 54, married with four children and was a resident of Ofra, in Samaria. Orbach was a former journalist and founded a children’s magazine.
Orbach wrote for secular and religious newspapers and also had a regular broadcast on Kol Yisrael (Israel Radio).
He was known for a gentle sense of humor, and he helped make the image national religious movement respectable even to those who oppose a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.
Orbach served as Minister for Pensioners in the past Knesset and was a candidate for re-election.
Israel Radio, part of the anti-right-wing media establishment, lavished praise on Orbach after his death, citing his pleasant manner and character that was the opposite of the typical politician.
He was credited for helping Naftali Bennett build a strong Bayit Yehudi party.
Bennett said after his death, “My big brother has passed away. Uri was a man who was full of humor and was serious, wise and honest, with courage and a vision… Uri had a personal magic that never stopped. He knew how to make children happy with stories, to make their parents laugh with his wisdom and to bring respect to the elderly.
“He helped grow a generation of youth in the media and show them that their dreams are possible. Generations of religious and secular Jews learned from him to connect the two worlds.
“Orbach loved the Land of Israel and every person without limits. He loved the People of Israel, and the People of Israel loved him.
“There was no one in the cold and cynical world someone who was so loved as Uri.
I have lost today a dear friend.”