Binyamin Ben-Eliezer

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Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Date of birth (1936-02-12) 12 February 1936 (age 88)
Place of birth Basra, Iraq
Year of aliyah 1950
Knessets 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Faction represented in Knesset
1984 Yahad
1984–1991 Alignment
1991–1999 Labor Party
1999–2001 One Israel
2001–2014 Labor Party
Ministerial roles
1992–1996 Minister of Housing & Construction
1999–2001 Deputy Prime Minister
1999–2001 Minister of Communications
2000–2001 Minister of Housing & Construction
2001–2002 Minister of Defense
2005 Minister of National Infrastructure
2006–2009 Minister of National Infrastructure
2009–2011 Minister of Industry, Trade & Labour

Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer (Hebrew: בנימין פואד בן אליעזר‎, Arabic: بنيامين فؤاد بن اليعازر‎‎, born 12 February 1936) is an Israeli politician and former military officer of Iraqi Jewish origin. He served as a member of the Knesset for several parties between 1984 and 2014, and has held several ministerial posts, including Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister.


Born in Basra in southern Iraq, as Fuad, Son of Saleh and Farha. Ben-Eliezer made aliyah to Israel in 1950, adopting the Hebrew first name Binyamin. He entered the Israel Defense Forces in 1954, and became a career soldier. He served as a Commander in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, and was wounded in the War of Attrition. In 1977, he was appointed First Commanding Officer in Southern Lebanon, serving as the army liaison between the Lebanese Christian militias and Israel. He was Military Governor of Judea and Samaria (1978–81) and was Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories from 1983 until 1984. He completed his military service with the rank of Brigadier General.

He was first elected to the Knesset in 1984 on the Yahad list, which merged into the Alignment during his first term. He was re-elected in 1988 and 1992, by which time the Alignment had become the Labor Party. On 13 July 1992 he was appointed Minister of Housing and Construction in Yitzhak Rabin's government. He retained his seat in the 1996 elections, but lost his place in the cabinet as Labor went into opposition. Following Ehud Barak's victory in the 1999 Prime Minister election, Ben-Eliezer returned to the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communications. From 11 October 2000 until 3 March 2001 he also served as Minister of Housing and Construction. After Ariel Sharon's victory in the special election for Prime Minister in 2001, Ben-Eliezer was appointed Minister of Defense in the national unity government, and served as Labor Party leader following Barak's resignation until Amram Mitzna was elected in 2002. He left the post on 2 October 2002 when Labor withdrew from the coalition.

Re-elected again in 2003, Ben-Eliezer served as Minister of National Infrastructure from 10 January 2005 until 23 November, when Labor left the government. In the Labor Party leadership election on 9 November 2005, he came third with 16.8% of the vote, behind Amir Peretz and Shimon Peres. He retained his seat again in the 2006 elections, and was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure in Ehud Olmert's government.

In March 2007, Ben-Eliezer was forced to cancel a trip to Egypt after being warned by Egyptian intelligence that he could be arrested, when Egyptian media and opposition implicated him in the 'massacre' of 250 Egyptian POWs during the Six-Day War following an Israeli documentary. However, the allegations are disputed by both Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and the documentary film-maker Ran Edelist.[1] Placed eighth on the party's list, he was re-elected again in the 2009 elections and appointed Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour. He resigned from the cabinet after Ehud Barak left the Labor Party to establish Independence in January 2011.[2]

He contracted pneumonia in March 2011 and was put into a medically induced coma, eventually making a full recovery.[3] He was re-elected in the 2013 elections, but resigned from the Knesset for health reasons in December 2014, and was replaced by Raleb Majadele.[4]

He lives in Rishon LeZion and is married with five children. Some of his granddaughters live in the United States. He is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English.


Ben-Eliezer is considered a hawk on foreign policy and was one of the main architects of the invasion of Lebanon as well as a strong proponent for Operation Defensive Shield. He advocated halting peace talks with Palestinians until there was an end to violence against Israelis, although he believed once their leadership is able to put a stop to "terrorism" and abandon it as a political tool there should be "compromise" in final status talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Ben-Eliezer warned in 2012: "So far Palestinians have kept quiet, but one day they will awake and the explosion will happen. People don't accept [being] under military rule for 50 years."[5]


  1. Egypt anger over 1967 'massacre' BBC News, 5 March 2007
  2. Labor ministers quit gov't after split Ynetnews, 17 January 2011
  3. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  4. Raleb Majadla Replaces Ben Eliezer in Knesset Israel National News, 14 December 2014
  5. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Labour Party Leader
Succeeded by
Amram Mitzna