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Haim Oron
Haim Oron 2006.jpg
Date of birth 26 March 1940 (1940-03-26) (age 69)
Place of birth Giv'atayim, Mandate Palestine
Knessets 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Party New Movement-Meretz
Former parties Mapam
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Agriculture &
Rural Development

Haim "Jumas" Oron (Hebrew: חיים "ג'ומס" אורון‎, born 26 March 1940) is an Israeli politician and former Minister of Agriculture. He is currently head of the political party New Movement-Meretz, for whom he serves as a member of the Knesset.



Oron was born in Giv'atayim and grew up in Ramat Gan. His parents emigrated from Poland before World War II. His father was a textile worker and his mother a housewife. His nickname as a boy was "Jamus" (water buffalo) and later, "Jumas".[1]

Oron served in the airborne Nahal. After the army, he and his wife Nili joined kibbutz Lahav, where he taught in the high school and worked in various branches of the kibbutz economy (poultry, field crops, sausage factory, plastics factory). He was a member of the kibbutz committee and served as executive secretary. In 1968, he became secretary of the Hashomer Hatzair movement. He was national secretary of Kibbutz Artzi twice.[1]

Oron had four children - Irit, Assaf, Yaniv and Oded. Yaniv died in a tractor accident at the age of 4. Oron and his wife continue to live on the kibbutz, and his salary as a Knesset member goes into the collective treasury.[1]


Political career

Oron was one of the founders of Peace Now (1978). In 1988, he was voted to the Knesset for Mapam which in 1992 merged with Ratz and Shinui as Meretz (which later became Meretz-Yachad). In the thirteenth Knesset, he was chairman of the Ethics Committee. In the fourteenth Knesset, he became the leader of Meretz.

He joined Haim Ramon in his bid for the Histadrut leadership, and after Ramon's victory, during 1995-1996, served as its treasurer. In 1999, Oron was appointed Minister of Agriculture in Ehud Barak's government. In 2000, he resigned from the Knesset, but returned after the 2006 elections.

After Yossi Beilin resigned as Meretz leader, Oron was elected as party chairman. He headed the party's joint list (New Movement-Meretz) in the 2009 elections on February 10, but saw the party reduced to just three seats. On February 14, 300 Meretz members signed a petition urging Oron to resign, while a second petition signed by 400 other party members, including Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Beilin, called for him to stay. The next day, Oron said he decided not to resign, saying: "For me, responsibility means working toward the rehabilitation of Meretz".[2]


Oron has embarked on several projects to improve the welfare of the Bedouin population of the Negev, among them the establishment of a wastewater purification plant, a health clinic and nursery schools.[1] He is a close friend of Marwan Barghouti, now serving five life terms in an Israeli jail for terrorist activities.[1] Qadura Fares, a senior Fatah official, describes Oron as a "loyal friend" and a "loyal Zionist," but also attentive to the problems of the Palestinians.[1]


External links


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