Knesset Member Gideon Ezra, a former minister who also served as deputy director of the Shin Bet internal security agency, died on Thursday after a years-long battle with lung cancer. He was 74.
Ezra was being laid to rest on Thursday in his hometown of Kochav Yair.
“Gideon served Israel throughout his whole life,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “His contribution to the State’s security was significant, and for the most part will remain a mystery due to its secretive nature.”
The former minister was renowned as a heavy smoker and recently blamed his cancer on the habit. After falling ill with the disease, Ezra became active in warning others of the dangers of smoking.
Born in Jerusalem, Ezra served for more than 30 years in the security establishment, rising to the position of deputy director of the Shin Bet.
Former Kadima head Tzipi Livni said Ezra was one of the best people Israeli politics has ever known.
“He was an upright character and spoke the truth,” Livni said. “He was bold in the field of security, and brave in his views in the public arena.”
Ezra became a Knesset member in 1996 as a member of the Likud party, and joined Kadima with the establishment of that party in 2005. During his political career he headed the Tourism, Environmental Protection and Internal Security ministries.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.