Israeli spiritual leader, Shalom Cohen, dies at 91

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Renowned leader of the Sephardi Jews in Israel, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, has passed away at the age of 91, a spokesperson for the Council of Torah Sages said on Monday.

Cohen was the spiritual leader of the Shas political party, which mainly represented Jews from northern Africa and the Near East.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog extoled Cohen, who was born in Jerusalem in 1930 as a spiritual leader of great humility.

Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri described the rabbi as “our father, our teacher and our leader.’’

The Shas party is currently in opposition but has often played a kingmaker role in Israeli politics.

Cohen had become the party’s spiritual leader after the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef following the latter’s death in 2013.

Yosef’s burial was the largest in Israeli history, with a crowd numbering hundreds of thousands.

Cohen’s burial is planned for Monday afternoon in Jerusalem.

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