Amir Peretz: The Bejaâd Native who Commanded the Israeli Army

Amir Peretz was born on March 9, 1952 in Bejaâd into a modest Jewish family. His father, who presided over the Jewish community of the city, had decided to leave to Israel in 1956. At that time, his son Armand-Amir was four years old. He settled in Sderot, a small Israeli town, where his son became mayor in 1983. This is how his political career began.

Amir Peretz has been in charge of several ministerial portfolios in several Israeli governments, most important of which made him famous in the Arab world is that of the Ministry of Defense, which he held during Israel’s war with Lebanon in 2006.

Amir Peretz was also Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Minister of the Environment in 2013. Since he joined the Knesset in 1988, he has been re-elected several times. He has chaired the Union of General Trade Unions, known as “Histadrut”, and has been behind many general labor protests that have paralyzed life in Israel.

Peretz belongs to the Labour Party, one of the most important parties in the Jewish state and which he has chaired several times. The last time he was elected head of this party was in 2019 when he defeated many prominent figures among Ashkenazi Jews, even though he was a Sephardic Jew, and had great difficulty adapting to this elitist party, considering his origins.

Despite having left Morocco at a young age, Amir Peretz’s relationship with Morocco remained strong. He visits Morocco often and holds its nationality. His Majesty King Mohammed VI received him during one of his visits, as he was a guest of the House of Councillors, despite the discontent that his presence had provoked in Islamist circles at the time. Many members of his family still live in Morocco, three of whom died recently as a result of the Coronavirus.

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