Israeli ultra-Orthodox party’s spiritual leader dies at 91

Aug 21, 2022, 4:26 PM | Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 4:28 am

JERUSALEM (AP) — Shalom Cohen, a prominent rabbi and spiritual leader of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas political party, has died. He was 91.

Cohen was born in Jerusalem to a prestigious religious rabbi and headed a Jewish seminary before joining the newly formed Shas party in the 1980s. He was an outspoken critic of modern Israeli society, including Israel’s national anthem. He called for his community members to refrain from using smartphones or undertake secular post-high school academic studies.

Cohen died Monday at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, the hospital confirmed. It did not provide a cause of death.

After the death of the party’s founder, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in 2013, Cohen became the party’s spiritual leader.

Thousands were expected to attend his funeral later on Monday at Jerusalem’s Sanhedriya Cemetery.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas party has long played kingmaker in Israeli politics, a position that has solidified Orthodox Judaism’s monopoly over many aspects of daily life — from public transportation on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, to marriage and divorce. For the past decade, the party has been a stalwart ally of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri, who resigned from politics last year after accepting a plea deal over tax offenses, wrote on Twitter following the announcement of Cohen’s death, “woe to the world that has lost its leader and woe to the ship that has lost its captain.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - In this file photo, a GameStop sign is displayed above a store in Urbandale, Iowa, on Jan. 2...

Associated Press

GameStop terminates CEO, former Amazon executive brought for modernization

Shares of GameStop are plunging before the opening bell after the company fired CEO Matthew Furlong, the former Amazon executive that was brought in two years ago to turn the struggling video game retailer around.

11 hours ago

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Altman on T...

Associated Press

OpenAI CEO suggests international agency like UN’s nuclear watchdog could oversee AI

Artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity, a key innovator warned during a visit to the United Arab Emirates

1 day ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

2 days ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

3 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

3 days ago

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Israeli ultra-Orthodox party’s spiritual leader dies at 91