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Former Palestinian Jewish Minister Hirsch dies

Rabbi served as Jewish affairs minister under Arafat

Controversial Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, who once served as cabinet minister under the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died on Sunday at the age of 79 after a long illness, relatives said.

Hirsch, who was born in 1931 in New York, was the son-in-law of Katzenel Bogen who had founded the ultra-Orthodox and anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta (Guardians of the City), which he went on to lead from 1974.

In 1995, Arafat formed his first Palestinian government and appointed Hirsch his minister for Jewish affairs.

Hirsch long described the iconic Palestinian leader as a "friend and brother" and was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause.

In line with the ideology of Neturei Karta, a minority movement within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the rabbi believed that the state of Israel should be destroyed.

Neturei Karta dictates that Israel should only see the light of day after the coming of the Messiah