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Biographies of Key Political Players for 2009

Kadima Labor Likud Other Parties

Kadima

Tzipi Livni, Kadima

Currently:
Acting Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Leader of Kadima


Born: 1958, Tel Aviv
IDF Rank: Lieutenant
Profession/Education: Lawyer/LL.B in Law
Political Highlight: Foreign Minister, Justice Minister, Minister for Regional Cooperation
Best Known For: 2nd female foreign minister of Israel, former Mossad agent

Shaul Mofaz, Kadima

Currently:
Currently: Transportation Minister, Deputy Prime Minister


Born: 1948, Tehran (Iran)
IDF Rank: Lieutenant General - Chief of Staff
Profession/Education: Politician/BA in Business
Political Highlight: Defense Minister
Best Known For: Being only the 2nd Mizrahi Chief of Staff

Meir Sheetrit, Kadima

Currently:
Interior Minister


Born: 1957, Errachidia (Morocco)
IDF Rank: Captain
Profession/Education: Politician/Ph.D in Public Policy
Political Highlight: Finance Minister, Justice Minister
Best Known For: Assisted in privatizing the public sector

Labor

Ehud Barak, Labor

Currently:
Defense Minister


Born: 1942, Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon
IDF Rank: Lieutenant General - Chief of Staff
Profession/Education: Politician/M.Sc., Engineering-Economic Systems
Political Highlight: Prime Minister
Best Known For: Highest decorated Israeli soldier

Isaac Herzog, Labor

Currently:
Social and Welfare Minister, Diaspora Minister

Born: 1960, Tel Aviv
IDF Rank: Major (still serving)
Profession/Education: Politician/LL.B in Law
Political Highlight: Tourism Minister
Best Known For: Being son of former president and grandson of former chief rabbi

Benyamin Ben-Eliezer, Labor

Currently:
National Infrastructure Minister


Born: 1936, Baghdad (Iraq)
IDF Rank: Brigadier-General
Profession/Education: Politician/BA from the National Security Academy
Political Highlight: Defence Minister, Deputy Prime Minister
Best Known For: Was sent by PM Yitzhak Rabin as the first minister to meet with PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat

Likud

Binyamin Netanyahu, Likud

Currently:
Leader of the Opposition

Born: 1949, Tel Aviv
IDF Rank: Captain
Profession/Education: Consultant/M.Sc., Business Management, MIT
Political Highlight: Prime Minister
Best Known For: Known as one of Israel's best spokesman and the architect of many economic reforms.

Benny Begin, Likud

Currently:
Until recently was the Director of the Geological Survey of Israel



Born: 1943, Jerusalem
IDF Rank:
Profession/Education: Geologist/Ph.D., Geology, Colorado State University
Political Highlight: Science Minister
Best Known For: Is the son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin

Dan Meridor, Likud

Currently:
Until recently the international chair of the Jerusalem Foundation

Born: 1947, Jerusalem
IDF Rank: Captain (Tank Corps)
Profession/Education: Lawyer/LL.B., Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Political Highlight: Finance Minister, Justice Minister
Best Known For: He was part of the Winograd Commission that investigated the Israeli leadership during the 2006 Lebanon War

Other Parties

Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beytenu

Yisrael Beytenu

Currently:
Leader of Yisrael Beytenu


Born: 1958, Kishniev, Moldova
IDF Rank: Corporal
Profession/Education: Politician/B.A. Social Sciences, Hebrew University
Political Highlight: Deputy Prime Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister
Best Known For: Proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs would be exchanged.

Eli Yishai, Shas

Currently:
Leader of Shas


Born: 1962, Jerusalem
IDF Rank: Sergeant
Profession/Education: Politician/B.A. Social Sciences, Hebrew University
Political Highlight: Deputy Prime Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister
Best Known For: Proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs would be exchanged.

Haim Oron, Meretz - New Movement




Currently:
Leader of Meretz - New Movement

Born: 1940, Givatayim
IDF Rank: Paratrooper
Profession/Education: Kibbutz Member
Political Highlight: Agriculture Minister
Best Known For: His Knesset salary goes into the collective treasury on Kibbutz Lahav


Rabbi Michael Melchior -The Green Movement/Meimad


Born: 1954, Denmark
IDF Rank: NA
Profession/Education: Rabbinical Ordination
Political Highlight: Deputy Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs
Best Known For: Chairman, of the Environmental Lobby in the Knesset and involvement in Jewish-Arab Coexistence

Rafi Eitan - Gil - The Pensioner's Party


Born: 1926, Ein Harod, Israel
IDF Rank: Captain
Profession/Education: Studies at the London School of Economics
Political Highlight: Member, Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee
Best Known For: Minister of Pensioner Affairs

Jamal Zahalka - National Democratic Assembly (Balad)


Born: 1955 Israel
IDF Rank: NA
Profession/Education: Ph.D. Pharmacy, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Political Highlight: Member, Science and Technology Committee
Best Known For: National Democratic Assembly Parliamentary Group Chairman

New York Times Birthday Book