December 4, 2015 / 10:01 PM / 3 years ago

Liberal Israeli politician and pundit Sarid dies, 75

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Yossi Sarid, an Israeli commentator and former cabinet minister who was the country’s most acid-tongued dove, died on Friday of a heart attack, aged 75, the broadcaster where he worked said.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (R) walks with Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member Yossi Sarid, the leader of the left-wing Israeli Meretz party, as they meet in Arafat's offices in Gaza in this April 19, 1998 file photo. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/Files

At Army Radio, Sarid used his morning show, “The Last Word”, to rail eruditely against conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, especially regarding stalled negotiations on founding a Palestinian state and the political clout of the religious Jewish right.

A founder of the liberal Meretz party, Sarid served as environment minister under Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord with the Palestinians, and, after the centre-left premier was assassinated two years later, as education minister under his successor Ehud Barak.

With diplomacy shattered amid a Palestinian revolt that erupted in 2000, leading to the election of rightist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Sarid headed the parliamentary opposition before leaving politics to devote himself to writing.

“He didn’t despair,” Yossi Beilin, an Oslo accord negotiator and former Meretz minister, told Army Radio. “Despite the years that passed, he always remained sharp and pugnacious.”

Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Ralph Boulton

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