Shaul Mofaz

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About this sound Shaul Mofaz (Hebrew: שאול מופז‎, Persian: شائول موفاز, born 4 November 1948) is an Israeli politician and former soldier who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He formerly served as former Minister of Defense, Minister of Transportation and as the 16th Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

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Biography

Born in Tehran (although his parents came from Isfahan), Mofaz immigrated to Israel with his parents in 1957. Upon graduating from high school he joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1966 and served in the Paratroop Brigade. He participated in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, and Operation Entebbe with the paratroopers and Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit.

Mofaz was then appointed an infantry brigade commander for the 1982 Lebanon War. Afterwards he attended the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. On his return he was briefly appointed commander of the Officers School, before returning to active service as commander of the Paratroop Brigade in 1986.

Mofaz served in a series of senior military posts, having been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General (1988). In 1993 he was made commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank. In 1994, he was promoted to Major General, commanding the Southern Corps. His rapid rise continued; in 1997 Mofaz was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff and in 1998 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff.

His term of Chief of Staff was noted for financial and structural reforms of the Israeli Army. But the most significant event in his tenure was the eruption of the Second Intifada. The tough tactics undertaken by Mofaz froze the intifada and saved lives of thousands of people on both sides. They drew widespread concern from the international community but were broadly supported by the Israeli public. Controversy erupted over the offensive in Jenin, intermittent raids in the Gaza Strip, and the continued isolation of Yasser Arafat.

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