Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri, a leader of the Kabbalah school of Jewish mystical thought who wielded great influence over Israeli politics, died Saturday of complications from pneumonia. He was believed to be at least 106.
An estimated 200,000 people filled the streets of Jerusalem for his funeral Sunday, and he was eulogized by Israeli President Moshe Katsav.
Rabbi Kadouri's appeal was mostly among Jews of Middle East origin and ultra-Orthodox Jews, but his words could move political mountains.
Mr. Katsav, then a little-known parliamentary backbencher, won a shocking victory over Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the 2000 presidential election after Rabbi Kadouri said he had a vision that Mr. Katsav was favored by the heavens.
A year earlier, Rabbi Kadouri galvanized opposition to an emerging peace deal with Syria in exchange for the Golan Heights, which were captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Rabbi Kadouri said at a rally that the plateau "must not be given back to the gentiles," and talks later fell through.
In 1998, he pronounced a curse on Saddam Hussein, willing him to be removed from power. "Let fear fall upon them [the Iraqis]," he said, after the Iraqi leader threatened Israel. "Let the curse be transferred to them."
Nam June Paik, 74, the avant-garde artist credited with being the inventor of video art, died Sunday at his Miami apartment, according to his Web site.
The Korean-born Mr. Paik played a pivotal role in using video as a form of artistic expression. A member of the Fluxus movement, he combined music, video images and sculptures.
His work has gained praise from the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, among others, and much of his work is on display at the Nam June Paik Museum in Kyonggi, South Korea.
"No artist has had a greater influence in imagining and realizing the artistic potential of video and television than Korean-born Nam June Paik," the Guggenheim Museum Web site says.
Jockel Finck, 43, an Associated Press photographer whose assignments included the fall of the Berlin Wall and the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia, died of a heart attack Saturday while vacationing with his family in southern Germany.
Born in Einbeck in Lower Saxony, Mr. Finck began his career as a photojournalist as a freelancer in Hannover and joined The Associated Press in Hamburg in 1986. He moved to the news agency's Berlin bureau in 1989 just as communism was crumbling in East Germany. He covered the the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of East and West Germany the next year.