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The Chief Rabbi of Be’er Sheva, Rabbi Rafael Yehuda Deri, 66, passed away Tuesday at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

The rabbi was admitted to the hospital in serious condition late last month following complications from an infection that began in his leg. He spent 10 days on an ECMO machine but was weaned off the machine earlier this week. Sadly, his condition deteriorated rapidly.


Rabbi Deri was the oldest brother of Shas party leader Arye Deri. Born in Morocco, he made aliya with his family at age 10.

The rabbi authored dozens of sacred texts, including Imrei Yehudah and Avnei Ezer.

After serving as the rabbi of Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood, Rabbi Deri spent the next three decades serving as the chief rabbi of Be’er Sheva while delivering Torah classes and lectures around the country.

A member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, Rabbi Deri also was a candidate for the position of chief rabbi of Israel.

Yehi Zicho Baruch

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.