Tributes have been made to Minister of Religious Services, David Azoulay, following his death on Tuesday.

The 64-year-old, who had been battling cancer, served the Knesset for over two decades.

First appointed in 1996, he held posts until a few months ago.

His funeral took place at the Sanhedria cemetery in Jerusalem.

“David was one of the most moving politicians; he was connected to all of Israel’s tribes.” said President Reuven Rivlin.

“He was a man from Acre who dealt with the needs of the public all his life and showed endless devotion to his wonderful family.

“Recently, he bravely dealt with his illness, but continued to serve the public. We will carry his memory in our hearts.”

The Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, added, “The world of the rabbinate and religious services has lost one of its greatest supporters and admirers.

“Rabbi Azoulay worked tirelessly and in a unique fashion to preserve the honour of the rabbinate and the Jewish tradition.”

“The people of Israel lost a unique man who worked decades for the welfare of the country, quietly and modestly,” commented fellow Shas member, MK Michael Malchieli.

He added, “On a personal note, I lost my teacher for public service.

“I had the privilege to be his chief of staff at the Religious Services Ministry, and that’s where I learned what is public devotion.

“He would not rest until any citizen’s complaint was taken care of in the best way possible. Later when I became MK, he guided me in every step.”

Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein, noted, “David and I were both elected for a second term in the Knesset 22 years ago, and since then we have worked for joint causes together.

“He was a wonderful minister and a devoted MK. More than that, he was a good person with strong values.”

Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency added, “David was a model public servant, a pleasant man with a loving personality.”

“Rabbi David, an honest, modest, merciful man, a man of action, a true tzaddik,” noted Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

Born in Morocco, Azoulay immigrated with his family to Israel aged nine.  After graduating from a yeshiva high school, he served in the IDF as a combat medic.

He enjoyed a career in education whilst holding a number of regional posts.

Azoulay was elected to the Knesset for the first time as a member of Shas.

Numerous posts included Internal Affairs and Environment Internal Affairs, Internal Security, Special Knesset Committee for Public Inquiries and Ethics Committee.

Over 20 years in the Knesset, he filed 780 bills and was a member of numerous lobby groups including those for children and youth at risk, closing the social gaps, strengthening the Jewish People, promotion of a solution for the Israeli-Arab Conflict and environmental-social lobbying groups.

Azoulay was Deputy Minister of the Interior in Ariel Sharon’s 2001 government and served from 2015 as Minister of Religious Services until stepping down due to illness.

He is survived his wife and four children.