David Rotem, retired Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker, dies at 66

David Rotem, retired Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker, dies at 66

Party head Avigdor Liberman mourns ‘great loss’ of a ‘personal friend’ who served as MK from 2007-2015

MK David Rotem (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)
MK David Rotem (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Former Yisrael Beytenu MK David “Dudu” Rotem died on Monday at the age of 66. The ex-lawmaker died of cardiac arrest in his home in the settlement of Efrat.

Rotem served in the Knesset between 2007 and 2015. In January, two months before Knesset elections, Rotem announced he was retiring from politics.

Rotem, a lawyer and former lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, served on various Knesset committees and was the chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. He was instrumental in formulating Israel’s electoral reform, which raised the electoral threshold to 3.25 percent in the March elections.

An Orthodox Jew, Rotem was outspoken on matters of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, and worked to decentralize conversions from the state authority. Still, despite his objections to the rabbinate, Rotem was also critical of other Jewish denominations, and came under fire last year for reportedly saying Reform Jews “are not Jewish.” He later apologized for the remarks and said they were taken out of context.

Rotem is survived by his wife and five children. His funeral was scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Efrat. He is to be buried in the cemetery in the nearby settlement of Kfar Etzion.

Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman said Rotem was not only a colleague “but a personal friend.”

“He was a man of the Land of Israel who knew how to fight for the land and for his beliefs. A man who wasn’t afraid to hold his own and wasn’t deterred from the struggles to advance the initiatives he believed in,” Liberman said in a statement. “His death is a great loss, and brings great sorrow to his friends.”

In a statement, the Efrat municipality offered its condolences to the Rotem family for the death of “one of the founders of Efrat, a true friend of the settlement [movement], and the residents of Efrat in particular.”

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