Former health minister Ya’akov Ben-Yezri passed away Saturday morning at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba at age 91.
Ben-Yezri was born in Morocco 1927 and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1949. Throughout the 1950s Ben-Yezri served in various positions on the local council of Pardes Hana.
In 1958 he began his career at the Clalit health insurance provider, working his way up from a clerk to the company’s regional director in 1974.
During his career, Ben-Yezri also served as national chairman of the Health Funds’ Workers Organization and chairman of the Health Funds’ Pensioners Organization.
In 2006, he was elected to the 17th Knesset on behalf of Gil, the now-defunct pensioner’s party.
Then prime minister Ehud Olmert appointed him health minister, a position he held until the 2009 elections.
Gil fell short of the electoral threshold in 2009, and Ben-Yezri lost his Knesset seat.
Ben-Yezri was known as an outspoken advocate of elderly rights. He also sought to pass legislation in the Knesset aimed at protecting heath care workers from violent patients.