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Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz.JPG
Date of birth 10 April 1958 (1958-04-10) (age 51)
Place of birth Israel
Knessets 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th
Party Likud
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Finance

Dr. Yuval Steinitz (Hebrew: יובל שטייניץ‎, born 10 April 1958), is an Israeli philosopher, academic and politician who has been a Knesset member for Likud since 1999.[1] The country's current Minister of Finance, he is most known for his expertise and uncompromising stance on security matters.[2]



Steinitz grew up in Ramot HaShavim and did his national service as an infantry soldier in the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces and later as a reservist in the Alexandroni Brigade. His higher education began at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he obtained a Bachelors in Philosophy and subsequent Masters with honors, in the same field.


Academic career

His doctoral thesis, entitled From A Rational Point of View was completed at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. Steinitz was given the Alon Scholarship for his work, which took him to the University of Haifa where he continued his research and quickly became a senior lecturer, a position he held until 1999 when he entered the Knesset.

During his time lecturing at Haifa University, Steinitz gained a special interest in the study of military strategy and tactics. He began to publish various articles on these topics in leading periodicals including the IDF journal Marachot. In light of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Steinitz also began to question his own political beliefs.

Political career

Steinitz's political activity began in the 1980s when he joined Peace Now. He was injured during a rally in which a right-wing extremist hurled a hand-grenade into the crowd, killing peace activist Emil Grunzweig.

However, his objections to the Oslo Accords led him into the Likud camp. For the 1999 elections he was placed twentieth on the Likud list, but missed out on a seat as the party won only 19 seats. However, when Netanyahu decided to take responsibility for the party's poor results and resign his seat, Steinitz replaced him as next in line. During his first term in the Knesset Steinitz served as the chairman of the Subcommittee for Defense,Planning and Policy, and as a member of both the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution Law and Courts Committee.

After retaining his seat in the 2003 elections, he was elected to chair the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, turning it into one of the most serious and influential bodies in the Knesset.[3] During his second term, he also chaired the Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services, the Committee for the examination of the Intelligence Services Following the War in Iraq, and co-chaired the Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and the US Congress, alongside American Senator Jon Kyl.[1]

Steinitz vehemently opposed the disengagement plan in 2005, critiquing both its perceived objectives and logistic implementation. He was particularly concerned about the IDF's intention to transfer the Philadelphi Route, (a strategic buffer zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip), to the Egyptians. He claimed that Egypt would overlook the transfer of weapons and ammunition into the strip, by various Palestinian terrorist groups, and that the "demilitarized territory" of the Sinai Peninsula would become re-militarized by Egypt in the future.[4] Following the implementation of the plan, Steinitz claimed that his statements had prevented the Egyptians taking greater control of the area. Steinitz added that even if the government felt the need to disengage in order to facilitate future agreements with the Palestinians, he believed that it was irresponsible to do so without first eliminating all terrorist threats within Gaza.

After re-election in 2006, he continued to co-chair the Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and the US Congress, and also chaired the Subcommittee for the State of Alert and Field Security and the Sub-Committee on Intelligence & Secret Services, whilst continuing to be a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Law and Courts Committee.

Dr. Steinitz advocates a serious reformation of the Israeli military strategy and defense doctrine. In January 2007 he told Defense News that "It is imperative to adopt a new Israeli defense doctrine, based on expanded use of sea power and a powerful land-based missile force." In the same interview he severely criticized both the IDF's assessment of the Hezbollah threat and their handling of the Second Lebanon War.

More recently he has campaigned for heightened awareness of the Iranian nuclear threat, lobbying both at home and abroad, to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.[5]

In 2008 Israel refused permission for Palestinian Fulbright students to leave Gaza and study in the United States. Steinitz strongly supported this action, telling the New York Times “We are fighting the regime in Gaza that does its utmost to kill our citizens and destroy our schools and our colleges. So I don’t think we should allow students from Gaza to go anywhere. Gaza is under siege, and rightly so, and it is up to the Gazans to change the regime or its behavior.”[6]

He retained his seat again in the 2009 elections after winning ninth place on the Likud list. He was appointed to take the position of finance minister in the government that Benjamin Netanyahu formed.[7]


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