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Moshe Arnes

Moshe Arnes


Moshe Arens (Hebrew: ??? ????‎, born 27 December 1925) is an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher and former diplomat and politician. A member of theKnesset between 1973 and 1992 and again from 1999 until 2003, he served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Arens has also served as the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and was professor at the Technion in Haifa.


Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, Arens immigrated to the United States with his family in 1939 and became an American citizen. As a youth, Arens became a leader in the Betar youth movement. He studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and aeronautical engineering at the California Institute of Technology.[1] During World War II, Arens served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. After Israeli independence in 1948, Arens made aliyah and joined the Irgun. He later became a founding member of the Herut party which grew out of it.

Between 1957 and 1962 Arens worked as a Professor for aeronautics at the Technion.[1] From 1962 until 1971 he was a Deputy Director General at Israel Aircraft Industries, and won the Israel Defense Prize in 1971. After the Yom Kippur War he entered politics and was elected to the Knesset as a member of Likud in the1973 elections. After being re-elected in 1977, he became chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

He was re-elected again in 1981, but resigned from the Knesset on 19 January 1982 when appointed ambassador to the United States. He returned to Israel in February 1983 after being appointed Minister of Defense, replacing Ariel Sharon, who had been forced out of office following the Kahan Commission's report on theSabra and Shatila massacre.

He was re-elected in 1984, but was only appointed Minister without Portfolio. After another re-election in 1988 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in 1990 returned to the Defense portfolio.

After Likud lost the 1992 elections, Arens retired from politics. However, he returned in 1999 to challenge Binyamin Netanyahu for the Likud leadership. Although he failed in his challenge, winning only 18% of the vote, Netanyahu appointed him Minister of Defense, replacing Yitzhak Mordechai, who had left Likud to establish the Centre Party.

Although Arens returned to the Knesset after the 1999 elections, Likud lost the elections and he left the cabinet. He lost his seat for the final time in 2003.

Today Arens is chairman of the International Board of Governors of the Ariel University Center of Samaria and writes for Haaretz.

Since retiring from the government, he has also devoted considerable efforts to researching and commemorating the story of the Jewish Military Union (?ZW) which fought alongside the better known Jewish Combat Organization (?OB) in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In part due to Arens' intervention with the then-mayor of Warsaw (and later president of Poland) Lech Kaczynski, a square in Warsaw was named in honor of Dawid Moryc Apfelbaum. At that time, Arens described Apfelbaum as one of the leaders of the Zionist Revisionist resistance movement in the ghetto and wrote that "he had already arranged the first acquisition of arms for ?ZW at the end of 1939."[2]

Arens is the author of a number of articles on the revolt as well as a popularly acclaimed book, Flags over the Ghetto, which appeared in Hebrew, Polish and English. Historians, however, have disputed his methodology and conclusions.[3]