JERUSALEM (AP) _ Right-wing lawmaker Haim Kaufman, who rose from a militia member to become transport minister, died of an undisclosed illness Monday. He was 60.
Kaufman, a member of the opposition Likud Party, was first elected to parliament in 1977. He served as transport minister, deputy Knesset speaker, deputy finance minister and coalition chairman under former Premier Yitzhak Shamir.
As a youth, Kaufman was involved in Menachem Begin’s Irgun underground, which fought the British when they ruled mandatory Palestine before Israel’s birth in 1948.
Likud member Yossi Ahimeir, a former Shamir spokesman, will replace Kaufman in the legislature.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu remembered Kaufman as ``a loyal friend and a loyal Israeli. We will miss him very much.″
Kaufman is survived by a wife and three children. A private funeral was scheduled for Tuesday in Petah Tikva.