Former tourism minister Benny Elon dies at 62
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Former tourism minister Benny Elon dies at 62

Rabbi was MK from 1996-2009 for the right-wing Moledet and National Union parties

Benny Elon, an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Israeli parliament for Moledet and the National Union between 1996 and 2009, on October 2, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Benny Elon, an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Israeli parliament for Moledet and the National Union between 1996 and 2009, on October 2, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Benny Elon, a former tourism minister, rabbi and far-right politician died on Friday. He was 62.

Elon was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2006. He was being buried later Friday in Jerusalem.

Elon served as a lawmaker in the Knesset between 1996 and 2009, including two stints as tourism minister under Ariel Sharon, who fired him in 2004 for his opposition to the Gaza withdrawal plan.

President Reuven Rivlin mourned Elon as “a big-hearted man, who dedicated himself entirely to the cause of education, and the public.”

“As a minister, as a member of parliament, and as a man of action, vision, and of spirit, Rabbi Benny Elon was one of the great fighters and doers for the sake of the Land of Israel, for its residents, and its children,” Rivlin said.

Elon was first elected as a representative of the Moledet party, which advocated for the voluntary transfer of Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 1999 Moledet merged with other right-wing parties to become part of the National Union.

He quit politics in 2009 when he was placed in an unrealistic slot on the Jewish Home party’s Knesset slate.

Elon was part of a very prominent family in the national religious movement. His father Menachem Elon was Deputy Chief Justice of Israel and his brother is disgraced religious Zionist rabbi Mordechai (Motty) Elon. He was also one of the founders of the Bet El settlement.

He is survived by his wife, the journalist Emuna Elon, and six children.

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