Israel’s Former Chief Rabbi Dies Of Coronavirus

Eliahou Bakshi-Doron
Eliahou Bakshi-Doron

Israel’s former chief rabbi , who was known for promoting interfaith dialogue, died Sunday of the new coronavirus, the Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem said.

Eliahou Bakshi-Doron, 79, was the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003.

Born in Jerusalem in 1941, he was chief rabbi of the northern port city of Haifa for 18 years before being elected chief rabbi of Israel.

He met Pope John Paul II in 2000 during the pontiff’s visit to Israel, sparking criticism from some ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

An advocate of interfaith dialogue, he increased engagement with Muslim and Christian leaders.

His reputation was, however, somewhat tarnished when he was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for corruption and breach of trust in 2017.

The rabbi was hospitalised some days ago but suffered from pre-existing conditions that led to his condition deteriorating, the hospital said in a statement.