Joseph Lapid, 76, a former justice minister, journalist, and outspoken critic of Israel's Orthodox religious establishment, has died after a long bout with cancer.

"We lost a precious man, a dear Jew, and a friend who cannot be replaced," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his cabinet after news of Mr. Lapid's death Sunday.

A Holocaust survivor, Mr. Lapid was one of Israel's most prominent print journalists and notable TV personalities.

He was born Tomislav Lampel in 1931 in the former Yugoslavia to Hungarian parents. The family was seized by the Nazis when he was a child, and he spent the war in the Budapest ghetto. He survived with his mother and moved to Israel in 1948.

He went on to become a prominent journalist and later director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. - AP