Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first to express his sorrow over the death of one of Religious Zionism’s greatest spiritual leaders, Rabbi Haim Meir Druckman, z”l (Rabbi Chaim Drukman).
“A great light of love for Israel was extinguished today,” Netanyahu wrote in a tweet.
Rabbi Druckman was diagnosed with COVID-19 on December 9, the second time he had contracted the coronavirus this year.
He passed away Sunday evening at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, where he was admitted ten days ago to the intensive care unit after his condition deteriorated while being cared for at home.
“At this time of farewell to Rabbi Haim Druckman, my heart aches deeply with his precious family and with many, many people,” Netanyahu wrote. “The state of Israel has lost a great spiritual leader, and I have lost a personal friend whom I respected very much.
“As someone who personally experienced the horrors of the Holocaust as a child, Rabbi Druckman devoted himself to the building of the nation when he immigrated to Israel,” Netanyahu noted.
“His compass was the mission for the benefit of Klal Israel. The education of the youth, the concern for settlement, the mobilization for social missions, the growth of the Zionist-religious Torah world and the orientation of young people for meaningful service in the IDF were at the forefront of his attention.
“His extensive activity as a member of the Knesset reflected his being not only a representative of the sector he represented, but a loyal messenger of the general public in Israeli society.
“The rabbi and I interfaced in a major way on the area of conversion,” Netanyahu continued. “As the head of the conversion system in the Prime Minister’s Office, he took — as is his holy custom — a heartfelt approach that helped the joining of thousands of new immigrants to the ranks of our people.
“The mission fire that burned in Rabbi Druckman has not been extinguished; its sparks lie deep in the hearts of thousands of his students.
“His path will continue for generations. In the spirit of the worlds of his teacher and rabbi, Rabbi Kook zt”l: “Let there be light, let there be holiness, let there be justice, let there be life that is worthy of their name, for Israel.
“May his memory be blessed.”
President Isaac Herzog
“The Torah of Israel, the people of Israel, and the land of Israel were his focus hour after hour, day after day, and he dedicated his life for the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” the president wrote in a statement.
“I have had a warm and close relationship with him over the years and I have always drawn important and educated insights from him, which I have told him, his family and his loved ones more than once.
“My condolences to his family, his friends and his students. His name will not be forgotten.”
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau
“Together with the entire House of Israel, I mourn the passing of Rabbi Chaim Druckman zt’l, a great man who for ninety years, taught, educated and brought Jews closer to faith in the Creator.
“And out of the love of the great Torah, he loved every Jew, every inch of the Land of Israel, and every letter of the Torah of Israel, and educated [his students] who will continue to learn, and continue to see the great light shining before their eyes. We mourn those who are gone and are no longer with us.”
MK Bezalel Smotrich, a Devoted Follower
“The crown of our head has fallen. We have become orphans, fatherless,” Smotrich said, quoting the Book of Lamentations.
“The People of Israel and the entire world has lost one of the spiritual giants of our generations, a pious man, a teacher, a man whose whole life was dedicated to the Torah of the land of Israel, to the people of Israel and the land of Israel.
“In recent years, I have been privileged to be under the rabbi’s shadow and to learn public leadership from his wisdom, humility, righteousness and leadership… The rabbi lived with great devotion for Klal Yisrael all his life, and even in the last few weeks I was privileged to join the rabbi for conversation and advice in the wee hours of the night.”
Bnei Akiva Movement
“The rabbi led the movement for decades with genius, strength and humility and was the spiritual uplifter of thousands of its graduates,” the Bnei Akiva movement said.
“The rabbi led the movement in every area where the movement needed him – participation in the national executive board, educational and spiritual consultations, joint activities with all members of the movement, and more.
“The image of the rabbi with the face mask and the movement shirt brings out his unique place in leading the way of Torah and in building a generation that is loyal and devoted to his people, his Torah and his country.”
Religious Zionism MK Orit Strook
“Rabbi Chaim Meir Druckman has passed into a world that is all good.
“At the height of the Hanukkah holiday, we bid farewell to the Rabbi who enlightened the lives of an entire generation with the light of love for the Torah, the People and the Nation. His special light will shine upon us from Above.”
MK Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit party
“I mourn the passing of Rabbi Haim Druckman zt’l, one of the leading Religious Zionist rabbis, one of the greatest rabbis of our generation.
“The rabbi was a great Torah leader, taught thousands, educated entire generations, and was a huge supporter of a Greater Israel.”
“The rabbi enlightened the world with his teachings and enormous benevolence. May he rest in peace.”
Former MK Ayelet Shaked
“In his life, the rabbi demonstrated a combination between the land of Israel, the nation of Israel, and the Torah of Israel, he taught generations of students the way of Torah and labor, and today, they take a central part in the action in Israeli society.
“I knew the rabbi for many years. In 2012 I first met him while I was running in the primaries for the Jewish Home [party]. Although I did not grow up in the national religious sector, the rabbi happily accepted me.
“Over the years in Israeli politics during which I consulted with him, the connection between us grew stronger and I discovered that the rabbi sees the good in everything, that he has life knowledge, and is a man that knows how to accept others.
“Rabbi Druckman, whose life was interwoven with the story of the establishment of the State of Israel and the return of the Jewish people to our Land, knew to accept the complexities and the tensions that exist here, everything with a responsible and moderate outlook.
“With his passing, we have lost a man who dedicated his whole life to the State of Israel, the People of Israel, the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and the Religious Zionist movement that were so important to him.”
Beit Shemesh Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch
“Rabbi Haim Druckman … was a model of educational responsibility and halachic responsibility.
“The rabbi’s teaching will continue to lead in the world of Torah and in the field of education and many will continue to walk in his paths and walk into his light.”
MK Danny Danon
“I grieve together with all the people of Israel for the death of Rabbi Chaim Druckman zt’l, laureate of the Israel Prize and one of the greatest rabbis of Religious Zionism.
“Rabbi Druckman was a great Torah scholar, a great educator, and a great light for the entire Jewish people. I had the privilege of knowing him personally and admired his wisdom, modesty and pleasant manners. May his memory be for a blessing.”
“The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization deeply mourns the passing of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, one of the foremost and most revered rabbinical figures of Religious Zionism,” the Tzohar organization said in a statement.
“As a communal and Torah leader, Rabbi Druckman was unparalleled in his ability to teach and inspire, and excelled in his love for all Jews and his empathy for all in need. Those unique traits enabled him to be embraced by Israelis from all walks of life.
“He was a man of remarkable vision who heavily influenced the modern development of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in general and he has had a great impact on the spiritual and physical makeup of our contemporary Jewish world.
“Our world has lost a giant and so many of us have personally lost a teacher who both guided and inspired. Yehi Zichro Baruch.”
“We are pained over the passing of our rabbi and teacher, Rabbi Chaim Meir Druckman zt”l. He was a preeminent educator of our generation, a spiritual master who facilitated the informed and compassionate conversion of thousands of people over many years.”
“The extended World Mizrachi family mourns the loss this giant of a man who was leader and member of our movement for so many years,” added Rabbi Doron Perez, Executive Chair of World Mizrachi who learned directly under Rabbi Druckman.
“I was blessed to learn in Yeshivat Ohr Etzion in the shadow of this exemplary Rosh Yeshiva and towering leader of Klal Yisrael and was deeply impacted by his inspiring teachings and incredible personality.
“This is a tremendous loss both personally and nationally and we express our deep condolences to his wife and family and his countless students in Israel and around the world.”
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue & White party)
“I had the privilege of helping to maintain the operation of the military boarding school in Or Etzion with the rabbi’s encouragement, and I always found in him a listening ear.
“I met with him in the last few months, and I was privileged to see him sharp-minded and determined as always in the fervor of his faith.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid party)
“Grieving alongside the family and many students of Rabbi Chaim Druckman.
“Holocaust survivor, founder of Yeshiva Or Etzion, scholar, winner of the Israel Prize and a man filled with love for the Jewish people.
“May his memory be for a blessing.”