Yoav Ben-Tzur of the Shas party began his term as a Knesset member at 10 am Sunday, when former MK Ariel Atias` resignation went into effect. Ben-Tzur was placed 12th on Shas` electoral list ahead of the elections for the 19th Knesset (Shas won 11 seats in last year’s elections). He will be sworn in at the plenum this week.

Born in 1958, Ben-Tzur served as CEO of Shas’s network of religious schools, Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani, from 20017 to 2013. MK Ben-Tzur is an ordained rabbi and holds an MBA as well as a master`s degree in public policy. He completed his army service as a captain (res.). Toward the end of the 1980s he was placed in charge of absorbing immigrants in northern Israel on behalf of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In 1993 he was appointed deputy director-general of the holy sites. In 1997 Ben-Tzur was named CEO of the government-owned company HaMeshakem and served in this capacity until 2007. In 2005 he was appointed chairman of the Religious Council in Jerusalem, a position he held for a year and a half.

MK Ben-Tzur is married to Ofra and resides in Jerusalem`s Har Nof neighborhood. He has seven children and nine grandchildren.

Atias, 44, entered the Knesset in 2006, where he served as communications minister under prime minister Ehud Olmert. In 2009, Atias received the housing and construction ministerial portfolio and, in 2013, served as co-chairman of his party alongside MK Aryeh Deri and MK Eli Yishai.