Former minister and Labor Party chairman Binyamin Ben Eliezer dies at 80 following health issues

Ben Eliezer was indicted last December of bribery and money-laundering. He has served in many senior positions in politics and in the military.
Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Former MK and minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer passed away on Sunday at the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv. He is survived by his wife, Dolly, and his five children. He was 80 years old.

In June 2014, police launched a criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and money-laundering involving Ben Eliezer, which forced him to drop out of the race for Israel's President. A year later, despite his deteriorating health condition following a kidney transplant, the State Attorney's Office indicted him.

Ben Eliezer underwent an emergency surgery last week, and was later transferred to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Assaf HaRofeh hospital over a heart problem. He was moved to Ichilov earlier on Sunday, where he died in the afternoon hours. His family has agreed to donate his corneas.

Ben Eliezer (right) with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Photo credit: Tzvika Israeli, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Born 1936 in Iraq, Ben Eliezer moved with his family to the Israeli kibbutz of Merhavia in 1950. He joined the IDF four years later, serving in the Golani infantry brigade and later becoming an officer. As a commander, he participated in the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.

In 1984, Ben Eliezer left the army and joined politics. Together with Ezer Weizman, who would later become president, he formed the Yachad party which received three seats in the Knesset, later merging with Labor.

Under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, Ben Eliezer became the first Israeli politician to meet with then-Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat.

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