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Shaul Mofaz
Shaul Mofaz.jpg
Date of birth 4 November 1948 (1948-11-04) (age 61)
Place of birth Tehran, Iran
Year of aliyah 1957
Knessets 17th, 18th
Party Kadima
Former parties Likud
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Transportation
Minister of Defense*
*Whilst outside the Knesset

About this sound Shaul Mofaz (Hebrew: שאול מופז‎,Persian: شائول موفاز, born 4 November 1948) is an Israeli politician and former soldier who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He formerly served as former Minister of Defense, Minister of Transportation and as the 16th Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

Contents

Biography

Born in Tehran (although his parents came from Isfahan), Mofaz immigrated to Israel with his parents in 1957. Upon graduating from high school he joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1966 and served in the Paratroop Brigade. He participated in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, and Operation Entebbe with the paratroopers and Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit.

Mofaz was then appointed an infantry brigade commander for the 1982 Lebanon War. Afterwards he attended the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. On his return he was briefly appointed commander of the Officers School, before returning to active service as commander of the Paratroop Brigade in 1986.

Mofaz served in a series of senior military posts, having been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General (1988). In 1993 he was made commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank. In 1994, he was promoted to Major General, commanding the Southern Corps. His rapid rise continued; in 1997 Mofaz was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff and in 1998 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff.

The Chief of Staff Gen. Shaul Mofaz (right foreground) meets with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (left), and other senior DoD officials in the Pentagon

His term of Chief of Staff was noted for financial and structural reforms of the Israeli Army. But the most significant event in his tenure was the eruption of the Second Intifada. The tough tactics undertaken by Mofaz froze the intifada and saved lives of thousands of people on both sides. They drew widespread concern from the international community but were broadly supported by the Israeli public. Controversy erupted over the offensive in Jenin, intermittent raids in the Gaza Strip, and the continued isolation of Yasser Arafat.

Mofaz foresaw the wave of violence coming early as 1999 and prepared the IDF for intense guerrilla warfare in the territories. He fortified posts at the Gaza Strip and due to advance MOUT tactics and intelligent use of bulldozers he managed to keep Israel Defense Forces casualties low. However, he drew criticism from leftist groups because of the methods he had undertaken (such as house demolitions).

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Political career

Following a government crisis in 2002, Shaul Mofaz was controversially appointed Defense Minister by Ariel Sharon. Although he supported an agreement with the Palestinians, he was willing to make no compromise in the war against militant groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The fact that he had only recently left his position as IDF Chief of Staff prevented him from participating in the 2003 election (by which time Mofaz had joined Sharon's Likud). Nevertheless, Sharon reappointed him as Defense Minister in the new government.

On 21 November 2005, Mofaz rejected Sharon's invitation to join his new party, Kadima, and instead announced his candidacy for the leadership of Likud. But, on 11 December 2005 he withdrew from both the leadership race and the Likud to join Kadima.

Following the elections in late March 2006, Mofaz was moved from the position of Defense Minister and received the Transport ministry in the new Cabinet installed on 4 May 2006.

In 2008, with Israel's then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, being pressured to resign due to corruption charges, Mofaz announced that he would run for the leadership of the Kadima party.

On 5 August 2008, Mofaz officially entered the race to be leader of Kadima. That same day he received a blessing by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. On 17 September 2008, he lost the Kadima party election, losing to Tzipi Livni for the spot of the Prime Minister and leader of Kadima. Livni's narrow margin of 431 votes was 43.1% to Shaul Mofaz's 42.0%, a huge difference from the 10 to 12-point exit polls margins. She said the "national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great reverence".[1][2] Mofaz accepted the Kadima primary's result, despite his lawyer, Yehuda Weinstein's appeal advice, and telephoned Livni congratulating her. Livni got 16,936 votes, with 16,505 votes, for Mofaz. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit had 6.5% and 8.5% respectively.

Placed second on the Kadima list, Mofaz retained his seat in the 2009 elections, but lost his cabinet position after Likud formed the government.

A fictionalized version of Mofaz appeared in the 2008 drama film Lemon Tree.[3]

See also

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Shaul Mofaz (born 1948 in Tehran, Iran) is the current Israeli Minister of Transportation and a Deputy Prime Minister.

About Shaul Mofaz

  • Blathering away about how "we'll attack and destroy you" does not deter the decision-makers in Tehran, but it does drive the oil markets crazy... And who profits from that? Tehran.

External links

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