David Rotem, a former member of Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, passed away Monday at the age of 66. He served as an MK from 2007 to 2015 and headed the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for six years, during which time he saw the Governance Law passed. Last January he announced he was resigning from political life after not being placed on the party’s roster ahead of last March’s election.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized Rotem, sending his condolences to his family and telling the Knesset plenum that Rotem’s passing “caught him by surprise. I didn’t know he was ill and it is possible he also did not know.”
Using his nickname, Dudu, Netanyahu said Rotem was a “warm man” with a “sharp tongue who loved the Land of Israel. He was a big patriot and true public servant.”
His former party’s chairman, Avigdor Leiberman, also eulogized him, saying “Rotem was not just a partner, but also a personal friend.
“He was a man of the Land of Israel who knew how to fight for Israel and for his opinions. He was a man not afraid to stand up for himself and did not avoid the struggles needed to advance his ideas. His passing is a great loss,” Leiberman said.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also praised Rotem and lamented his passing, saying he was “one of the most esteemed and diligent members of the Knesset we have known. He was an active lawyer who did much for Yesha [council of settlements]. His early death caught us by surprise. I send my condolences to his family.”
Rotem entered the Knesset after Yuri Stern passed away from cancer in 2007. As head of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee he attained a somewhat controversial status and frequently had words with opposition MKs. He personally sponsored and passed in three readings the controversial Governance Law, which saw Israel’s election threshold raised. He also served on the Judicial Appointments Committee for one term.