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Gideon Ezra
Gideon Ezra.jpg
Date of birth 30 June 1937 (1937-06-30) (age 72)
Place of birth Jerusalem, Mandate Palestine
Knessets 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th
Party Kadima
Former parties Likud
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Environmental
Minister in PM's Office
Minister of Tourism
Minister of Internal Security

Gideon Ezra (Hebrew: גדעון עזרא‎, born 30 June 1937) is an Israeli politician, member of the Knesset for Kadima and a former Minister of Environmental Protection.


Ezra was born in Jerusalem and served in the Israeli Defense Force between 1955 and 1958 in the Nahal. He studied Geography and Political Science at the University of Haifa before starting work with the Shin Bet in 1962.

After retiring from Shin Bet in 1995, he worked as an advisor to then Minister of Internal Security Moshe Shahal.

Ezra was elected to the Knesset in the 1996 elections on the Likud list, and retained his seat in the 1999 and 2003 elections. After Ariel Sharon beat Ehud Barak in the 2001 election for Prime Minister, Ezra was appointed Deputy Minister of Internal Security.

In August 2002 Ezra opined about the approaching American invasion of Iraq: "The more aggressive the attack is, the more it will help Israel against the Palestinians." Military action against Iraq would "undoubtedly deal a psychological blow" to the Palestinians, added the Deputy Minister.[1]

He was given his first full ministerial position after the 2003 elections when appointed Minister in the Ministry of the Prime Minister's Office. When Binyamin Elon was sacked as Minister of Tourism in July 2004, Ezra replaced him, initially as Acting Minister (the position was made permanent at the end of August). From September 2004 he also held the position of Acting Minister of Internal Security after Tzachi Hanegbi resigned in the face of corruption allegations. This ministerial post was also made permanent in November, and Ezra oversaw the evacuation of the Amona settlement in February 2006. In November 2005 he was attacked during a rally in Sderot against Israel's unilateral disengagement plan over his support for it.[2]

In January 2005 he was replaced as Tourism Minister by Avraham Hirschson. When Sharon founded Kadima in late 2005, Ezra joined him, picking up the Environment Ministry portfolio from Labor's Shalom Simhon.

After the 2006 elections he was appointed Minister of Environmental Protection by new PM Ehud Olmert. In April 2007 he announced that he would oppose plans to build a solar energy plant near Dimona on the basis that it would affect a nature reserve.[3] He has also overseen the expansion of container deposit legislation to cover 1.5 litre bottles.[4]

Ezra retained his seat again in the 2009 elections, having been placed twelfth on the Kadima list. However, he lost his place in the cabinet as the Likud-led coalition formed the government


  1. ^ Israel Sees Opportunity in Possible US Strike on Iraq The Christian Science Monitor, 30 August 2002
  2. ^ 'Anything is possible' Jerusalem Post, 8 November 2005
  3. ^ Environment chief: New clean energy site would harm rare species Haaretz, 20 April 2007
  4. ^ Government expands deposit law to include 1.5 liter bottles Haaretz, 4 February 2007

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