Katsav, Moshe (1945–)

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Israeli political figure, born in 1945 in Iran, Moshe Katsav arrived in Israel in 1951, when his family settled in the refugee camp of Qiryat Malachi. While he was a student he became a militant in the Gahal. With degrees in agriculture, economics, and history, he became mayor of the city of Qiryat Malachi in 1969. In 1977, he was elected deputy of Likud. Three years later, he was named deputy minister of housing and construction in the government of Menachem Begin, then minister of labor and social affairs in the Begin-Peres National Unity cabinet. Between 1988 and 1992 he was minister of transportation. In 1992, after the electoral victory of the Labor Party, he became leader of the Likud parliamentary bloc in the Knesset. The following year, after having failed in an attempt to become speaker of the Knesset, he was awarded the number two position in the party, after Benjamin Netanyahu. On 18 June 1996, he was named deputy prime minister and minister of tourism in the government of the latter. During the following month of October, his name was mentioned for the portfolio of Arab affairs. In May 1999, he was reelected Likud member of the Knesset. On 1 August 2000, he became eighth president of the State of Israel, having carried the second ballot of the vote by 63 votes against 57 for his rival, Shimon Peres. Two days later, on Israeli radio, he announced his conviction that the city of Jerusalem should remain under Israeli sovereignty. On the following 22 August, when King Abdullah of Jordan was visiting, he refused to attend the ceremony that took place in Tel Aviv because, in his opinion, it should have been held in Israel's capital, Jerusalem.

SEE ALSO Begin, Menachem;Knesset;Likud;Netanyahu, Benjamin;Peres, Shimon.