Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: A Biographical Dictionary

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But while respected for his managerial skills, Peres also earned the enmity of party stalwarts who regarded him as more of a technocrat. Peres was often allowed to exercise authority beyond his job description that earned him both the criticism and envy of other ministers.

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He earned a reputation as a shrewd effective negotiator, who often succeeded by bypassing diplomatic channels and establishing his own relationships. Nevertheless, he earned a high place on the party's list of candidates and was first elected to the Knesset Israel's parliament in He then served as deputy defense minister.

Leaving Mapai, he helped form the breakaway Rafi Party and was returned to the Knesset in Returned to the Knesset in , Peres served as minister of immigrant absorption and minister-without-portfolio until August , when he was given the post of minister for transport and communication. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War Peres briefly served as minister of information as part of a cabinet reshuffle.


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When Golda Meir stepped aside as leader of the Alignment in , a fiercely-contested succession struggle found Peres losing to Yitzhak Rabin by a narrow margin, votes to The Knesset endorsed the Rabin government in June, with Peres as minister of defense. Despite a strained personal and working relationship, Peres was actively involved in the separation of forces agreements with Syria and Egypt during the "shuttle diplomacy" of U.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He also administered the West Bank territories and restored the Israel Defense Forces to a peak of efficiency after the fighting. The national elections witnessed a major reversal in Israeli politics, with the opposition Likud Party swept into office and Labour now out of power for the first time in 29 years. Peres, replacing Rabin as party chief, demonstrated admirable dedication in rebuilding the Alignment's political fortunes.

A tireless campaigner, widely-read, and an experienced parliamentarian, Peres was a sharp critic of Begin government policies. He was especially critical of the aims and conduct of Operation "Peace for Galilee, " the invasion of Lebanon launched in June In the elections the Israeli electorate failed to issue a clear mandate to either of the two major blocs: Likud or the Alignment. In the resultant deadlock it became necessary to seek some form of collaboration.

These efforts led to formation of the National Unity Government. It was agreed that Peres would serve as prime minister for the first two years of the four-year term, after which he shifted position, serving as foreign minister and vice premier under Yitzhak Shamir. During his term as prime minister Peres concentrated on a number of immediate priorities which centered on disengagement from Lebanon, checking the rampant inflation and restoring economic growth, streamlining the work of the prime minister's office and of the unwieldy member cabinet, and deepening the peace treaty with Egypt while seeking resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict through his "Jordanian option.

During this time Peres became known for his efforts to work out a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem on the West Bank. In Peres lost party leadership to Rabin, but was appointed foreign minister in the new Labor cabinet. As foreign minister, he used his considerable negotiating skills to bring about the prospect of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Often criticized for his desire to grant the Palestinians more autonomy, Peres' maintained that negotiation was the only way to settle the centuries-long conflict.

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In the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Peres, Rabin, and Yassar Arafat in recognition of their role in forging the Palestinian autonomy agreements. On November 4, , this promise of peace was dealt a devastating blow when Rabin was assassinated by a right wing Israeli student.

Peres assumed the role of prime minister, vowing to continue the peace negotiations. In February he called for new elections, hoping that they would renew his mandate for peace.

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It appeared that he would win the election, when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 24 Israelis.

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