Ayalon, Ami

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AYALON, AMI (1945– ), Israeli soldier and security services chief. Ayalon was born in kibbutz Ma'agan. He received a B.A. degree in social sciences from Bar-Ilan University and an M.A. in public administration from Harvard University. In 1963 he joined the commando unit of the Israeli navy. In 1969 he was honored for bravery for his actions in the Green Island raid in Egypt. He also received a citation from the army chief of staff for carrying out 22 actions as a commander without casualties. In 1992 he became commander of the navy, retiring from the idf in 1995. After the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak *Rabin in 1995, he became head of Israel's general security services (the Shin Bet or Shabak), rehabilitating the organization after what was perceived as a breakdown in security at the time of the assassination. After leaving the Shin Bet in 2000 he became chairman of Netafim, a successful kibbutz plant for irrigation equipment. In 2003 he sponsored with Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, the "People's Voice" peace initiative aimed to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Their well-publicized peace plan was based on the idea of two states for two nations and the relinquishment by the Palestinians of the right of return. In 2004 Ayalon registered with the Labor Party and announced his intention to enter politics.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]