Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Minister of Defense and former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, was born in 1948 in Iran. He worked as an army officer, and during his military career he participated in most of Israel’s wars starting in 1967. He joined the party Likud Then a party KadimaHe won its presidency in 2012, and was elected as its member The Knesset He chaired the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevy, assigned him to lead the investigation team into the Israeli military and security failures after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation launched by the Palestinian resistance on the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023, which caused disagreement and controversy within the occupation government.
Birth and upbringing
Shaul Mofaz was born on November 4, 1948 in the Iranian capital TehranHe immigrated with his parents to Israel in 1957.
Study and training
He received his basic education in Jewish religious schools in Eilat, continued his education in the city of Nahalal, then joined the Paratroopers Brigade in the Israeli army in 1966, and in 1984 he received training at the Command and Staff College of the US Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.
In the period between 1976 and 1978, he took leave from the army to study at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, from which he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Military tasks and positions
Since joining the army, Mofaz has participated in most of the Israeli wars since the Six-Day War in 1967, as he was a combat paratrooper. SinaiThen he rose to leadership positions starting in the 1973 war. He was also a commander of an elite paratroopers unit, an officer in the special forces charged with liberating Israeli hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976, and a commander of the infantry brigade in the 1982 Lebanon War.
After graduating from the Command and Staff College of the US Marine Corps, which he joined in 1984, he served as commander of the Israeli Army Officers School for a short period, then assumed command of the Paratroopers Brigade in 1986, and in 1988 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general to work in a senior position leading the ground forces during that period. Between 1988 and 1990, he then worked as army commander in the Galilee region, then army commander in the West Bank, from 1990 until 1992.
In 1994, he attained the rank of Major General and became Commander of the Southern Command for two years, then Head of the Planning Branch of the General Staff of the Israeli Army and Deputy Head of the Authority in the period 1996-1997.
In 1998, Mofaz became the 16th Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, then rose to become Minister of Defense in November 2002 within the government. Ariel Sharon.
Mofaz belonged to the right-wing Likud Party, and after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew from the party in 2005, he ran for its presidency alongside the most prominent contenders. Benjamin Netanyahu And Silvan Shalom, but he soon accepted an offer from Sharon to join his new party, Kadima, which had split from Likud.
After Kadima came out on top in the elections, he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation and Road Safety between May 2006 and April 2009 within the government. Ehud Olmert.
In the Knesset elections in February 2009, Kadima won 28 seats compared to 27 for Likud, but the party leader at the time Tzipi Livni Negotiations to form a coalition government failed, causing Israeli President Shimon Peres to assign Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form it, so Kadima boycotted the new government.
Meanwhile, Shaul Mofaz, who won a seat in the Knesset, chaired the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and the Joint Defense Budget Committee, and was a member of other committees. He also began competing with the head of his opposition party for the leadership, and this was achieved by his victory on March 27, 2012, with a result of 61.7% of the votes, compared to 37.2% for Tzipi Livni. She left Kadima and formed a new party called the Movement Party.
The following May, the head of the new Kadima party announced his participation in Netanyahu's government coalition, and described not joining the government coalition under Livni after the 2009 elections as a historical mistake that reflects irresponsibility, and that he rushed to correct it.
However, Kadima left the coalition government after about two months, witnessing major divisions that were reflected in its results in the January 2013 elections, and it obtained only two seats in the Knesset.
Before the 2015 elections, Shaul Mofaz announced his retirement from politics following the failure of merger talks with Labor PartyAs for Kadima, it became dissolved by law after it did not win any seat in the Knesset.
The most prominent decisions and positions
The period in which Shaul Mofaz assumed the two highest-ranking positions in his political and military career, namely the Chief of the General Staff of the Army and the Ministry of Defense, was a period full of accelerating events in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
That period witnessed the start of the second intifada, the siege of the late President Yasser Arafat, the military incursion into Jenin, the exchange of prisoners with the Lebanese Hezbollah, and other events.
But the most prominent of these events was the supervision of what was known as the unilateral “disengagement plan” and the construction of the separation wall. Mofaz continued to strongly defend his decisions regarding them, despite the Israeli, Palestinian and international reactions raised by these issues.
Accordingly, the Gaza Strip was evacuated of settlers in the second half of August 2005, while maintaining the Israeli military presence in the border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and withdrawing from 4 settlements and military bases in the northern West Bank in September of the same year.
The plan stems from the vision of peace by then US President George Bush, and aims to achieve a better security reality in the long term, according to his perspective, and is not conditional on cooperation from the Palestinian side.
Work on building the separation wall in the West Bank near the Green Line began on June 23, 2002. Its height ranged between 4.5 and 9 meters, and it extended over a distance of 770 kilometers, including about 142 kilometers in the part surrounding Jerusalem. It is equipped with an electronic fence, watchtowers, cameras, and devices. Sensing and dirt roads covered with sand to detect the impact.
The wall caused the isolation of Palestinians in closed areas, and despite the issuance of a decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague declaring its construction illegal and requiring Israel to stop it, the work continued.
October 7th failures file
The assignment of Shaul Mofaz by the Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevy, to lead the investigation team into the failures of the events of October 7, 2023, sparked controversy within the Israeli cabinet (the mini-security government) due to his positions critical of the war, and the demand to accelerate the exchange of prisoners with the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. Gaza, and because he was responsible for the disengagement plan and evacuating the Strip of settlers in 2005.