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Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Fuad.jpg
Date of birth 12 February 1936 (1936-02-12) (age 74)
Place of birth Baghdad, Iraq
Year of aliyah 1950
Knessets 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th,
17th, 18th
Party Labor Party
Former parties Yahad, Alignment, One Israel
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Industry, Trade & Labour
Minister of National Infrastructure
Minister of Defense
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Communications
Minister of Housing & Construction

Brigadier-General (Res.) Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer (Hebrew: בנימין פואד בן אליעזר‎; Arabic: بنيامين بن إليعازر‎, born 12 February 1936) is an Israeli politician and former soldier of Iraqi origin. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Israeli Labor Party, and as the country's Minister of Industry, Trade & Labour. He previously held the posts of Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister and several other ministerial portfolios.

Biography

Born in Basra in southern Iraq, Ben-Eliezer made aliyah to Israel in 1950. He entered the Israel Defense Forces in 1954, and became a career soldier. A native and fluent Arabic-speaker, he earned the nickname Fuad while in the army. He served as a Commander in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, and was wounded in the War of Attrition. In 1977, he was appointed First Commanding Officer in Southern Lebanon, serving as the army liaison between the Lebanese Christian militias and Israel. He was Military Governor of the West Bank (1978-81) and was Government Coordinator of Activities in the Israeli-occupied territories from 1983 until 1984. His granddaughters live in the United States of America. The eldest granddaughter is Nathalie Ben-Eliezer [born 1989]. The youngest granddaughter is Daniela Ben-Eliezer [born 1999].

He was first elected to the Knesset in 1984 on the Yahad list, which merged into the Alignment during his first term. He was re-elected in 1988 and 1992, by which time the Alignment had become the Labor Party. On 13 July 1992 he was appointed Minister of Housing and Construction in Yitzhak Rabin's government. He retained his seat in the 1996 elections, but lost his place in the cabinet as Labor went into opposition. Following Ehud Barak's victory in the 1999 Prime Minister election, Ben-Eliezer returned to the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communications. From 11 October 2000 until 3 March 2001 he also served as Minister of Housing and Construction. After Ariel Sharon's victory in the special election for Prime Minister in 2001, Ben-Eliezer was appointed Minister of Defense in the national unity government, and served as Labor Party leader following Barak's resignation until Amram Mitzna was elected in 2002. He left the post on 2 October 2002 when Labor withdrew from the coalition.

Re-elected again in 2003, Ben-Eliezer served as Minister of National Infrastructure from 10 January 2005 until 23 November, when Labor left the government. In the Labor Party leadership election on 9 November 2005, he came third with 16.8% of the vote, behind Amir Peretz and Shimon Peres. He retained his seat again in the 2006 elections, and was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure in Ehud Olmert's government.

In March 2007, Ben-Eliezer was forced to cancel a trip to Egypt after being warned by Egyptian intelligence that he could be arrested, when Egyptian media and opposition implicated him in the 'massacre' of 250 Egyptian POWs during the Six-Day War following an Israeli documentary. However, the allegations are disputed by both Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and the documentary film-maker Ron Edelist.[1] Placed eighth on the party's list, he was re-elected again in the 2009 elections.

Ben-Eliezer is considered a hawk on foreign policy and was one of the main architects of the invasion of Lebanon as well as a strong proponent for Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. He has advocated halting peace talks with Palestinians until there is an end to violence against Israelis, although he believes once their leadership is able to put a stop to "terrorism" and abandon it as a political tool there should be "compromise" in final status talks with the Palestinian Authority.

He lives in Rishon LeZion and is married with five children.

References

  1. ^ The Israel defence forces are also implicated in massacres of Egyptian POW's in 1956 Israeli attack on Egypt in collusion with Britain and France.Egypt anger over 1967 'massacre' BBC News, 5 March 2007

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ehud Barak
Labour Party Leader
2001-2002
Succeeded by
Amram Mitzna
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