Yehuda Amital, ( ), born Yehuda
Klein on 31 October 1924) is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a former member of the Israeli cabinet.
born in Oradea in Romania.
Germany occupied the area in 1944, the Nazis sent his entire family to Auschwitz where they were killed.
Amital was sent to a
, thus surviving the Holocaust
. He remained in the Labor camp for eight
months, and was liberated on October 4, 1944 by the Soviet Army.
liberation he made his way to Bucharest, from where he travelled to Palestine, arriving on December 11, 1944.
short stay at the Atlit detainee camp, he made his way to Jerusalem, where he studied at Hebron Yeshiva, receiving semicha from Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer.
learned with Rav Yaakov Moshe
, a student of Rav Avraham
. Around this time he joined the Haganah
learning at Hebron he moved to Pardes Hanna in order to learn at Kletzk Yeshiva.
While learning at the
yeshiva, he married Miriam, the daughter of the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav
Zvi Yehuda Meltzer, and the granddaughter of Rav Isser Zalman
Meltzer. When the yeshiva relocated to Rehovot, Rav Amital
followed, settling in Rehovot until he moved to Jerusalem in the
The day after the Declaration
, Rav Amital's unit was mobilized. He took part in
battles of Latrun and the
After the war Rav
Amital became a rabbinic secretary in the Beth
of Rehovot and, two years later, he became an instructor at
Yeshivat HaDarom, where he helped formulate the idea of a Hesder Yeshiva
Six Day War, he founded Yeshivat Har
Etzion, a Hesder Yeshiva in Gush Etzion. The Yeshiva opened in Kfar Etzion in 1968 with 30 students. After two years the
institution moved to its current location in Alon Shvut.
In 1971 Rav Amital asked Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
to join him as
In 1988 Rav Amital founded the left-leaning religious Meimad
movement, and was elected its chairman after
it became a political party
1995, Rav Amital served as a Minister without Portfolio
government of Shimon Peres
being a Knesset member.
At the age of 80, Rav Amital, with the intention of retiring, asked
the management of Yeshivat Har Etzion to select his successors. The
yeshiva chose Rabbis Yaaqov Medan
. On January 4, 2006, Rav
Medan and Rav Gigi were officially invested as co-roshei yeshiva
alongside Rav Amital and Rav
On September 25, 2008, Rav Amital officially announced his
retirement in the Yeshiva, to take effect on the last day of the
Jewish month of Tishrei, in the year 5769 (October 28, 2008). He
also announced that Rav Mosheh
, the son of his co-Rosh Yeshiva Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
, would assume the
position as the fourth Rosh Yeshiva on that same day.
Rav Amital continues to be a prominent public figure in Israel,
with a broad impact on matters of religious and national concern.
His students and disciples are leading figures in many walks of
life. He has developed an educational philosophy which combines
deep faithfulness to tradition and ethical responsibility to
society at large with commitment to the moral and spiritual
flourishing of each individual.