Rabbi Benny Elon, religious Zionist leader and former minister, dies at 62

Elon, who served as Tourism Minister in the early 2000s, had been battling throat cancer for over a decade.
Photo credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Rabbi Binyamin (Benny) Elon, who served as the Minister of Tourism in Ariel Sharon's government, passed away Friday at the age of 62.

A member of the right-wing Moledet party, which later merged into the National Union, Elon was first elected to the Knesset in 1996. He replaced Rehavam Ze'evi as the party chairman following his assassination in 2001.

In 2004, Sharon fired Elon after he expressed his opposition to the Gaza disengagement plan.

In 2006, Elon was diagnosed with throat cancer. Two years later, after receiving a low position in the HaBayit Hayehudi primary election, he decided to quit politics.

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