Tzachi Hanegbi

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Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi Hanegbi - Kadima.jpg
Date of birth (1957-02-26) 26 February 1957 (age 57)
Place of birth Jerusalem, Israel
Knessets 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Party represented in Knesset
1998–2005 Likud
2006–2010 Kadima
2013– Likud
Ministerial roles
1996 Minister of Health
1996–1999 Minister of Justice
2001–2003 Minister of the Environment
2002–2003 Minister of Transportation
2003–2005 Minister of Internal Security
2004–2006 Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

Tzachi Hanegbi (Hebrew: צחי הנגבי‎, born 26 February 1957) is a prominent Israeli lawmaker and security expert. Hanegbi was Minister of Justice, Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Intelligence and Nuclear Affairs. Hanegbi was also the minister in charge of Israel's strategic and security relations with the United States, Minister in the Prime Minister's office supervising Israel's intelligence agencies - Mossad and Shin Bet - and overseeing Israel's Atomic Energy Agency, and Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Biography[edit]

Yitzhak (Tzachi) Hanegbi was born in Jerusalem in 1957. His mother is Geula Cohen, a prominent member of the 1940s underground group Lehi and later MK for Likud and Tehiya. His father, Immanuel Hanegbi, was the Operations Officer for the Lehi. After his military service in the paratroopers corps, Hanegbi studied international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As president of the Hebrew University Student Union in 1980, he received a six-month suspended sentence for leading an attack on Arab students.[1] Despite this incident, he became president of the National Union of Israeli Students later that year, holding that title until 1982. After his undergraduate studies, he went on to study law, obtaining an LL.B.

Hanegbi lives in Mevaseret Zion, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.[2]

Political career[edit]

Hanegbi was first elected to the Knesset in the 1988 elections, and headed the Prime Minister's Bureau under Yitzhak Shamir. He retained his seat in the 1992 and 1996 elections, and was initially appointed Minister of Health in Binyamin Netanyahu's government, becoming Minister of Justice in September 1996 and dropping the health portfolio in November that year.

He lost his ministerial portfolio after Ehud Barak won the 1999 elections, but returned to government when Ariel Sharon won the special election for PM in 2001. Hanegbi was appointed Minister of the Environment in March 2001, adding the Transportation portfolio to his duties later in the year.

After Likud's convincing win in the 2003 elections, Hanegbi was appointed Minister of Internal Security. In September 2003 he was appointed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as minister in the Prime Minister's Office in charge of Israel's intelligence agencies – the Mossad and Shin Bet, and supervised Israel's Atomic Energy Agency.

When Sharon broke away to form Kadima in November 2005, Hanegbi was appointed interim chairman of Likud. On the following day, Hanegbi announced that he was also switching to Kadima, and resigned from the Knesset on 10 December. However, he reappeared in the Knesset in April 2006 after winning a seat in the 2006 elections. From May 2006 until December 2010 Hanegbi served as the Chairman of the Knesset's Security and Foreign Affairs Committee.[3]

Placed fourth on the party's list, he retained his seat in the 2009 elections.

Trial[edit]

In July 2010, after a four-year trial for election bribery, fraud and breach of trust, a Jerusalem court cleared Hanegbi of all charges. However, the three-judge panel found him guilty of perjury. The case stems from Hanegbi's denial that he was behind an ad boosting his appointments of Likud party's political activists to positions in the Ministry of the Environmental Protection. The judges verdict cleared Hanegbi of any criminal wrongdoing, accepting the defense's argument that such appointments were not illegal prior to 2004, and that this was the common practice among all cabinet members in all the previous governments since Israel's independence. The court ruled that selectively prosecuting Hanegbi for what was a widespread and common practice was wrong and unfair. Hanegbi was urged by his legal team to appeal the perjury conviction to Israel's High court of Justice. Following the verdict, several prominent leaders and officials publicly defended Hanegbi. Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg who opposes Hanegbi politically, has called for the firing of the prosecutor by the Attorney General.

On 9 November 2010, the Jerusalem court fined Hanegbi 10,000 NIS, and in a 2-to-1 decision imposed moral turpitude to the offense. Hanegbi therefore suspended himself from the Knesset and from his position as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, pending his legal appeal. His seat was taken by Nino Abesadze.

Return to the Likud[edit]

Hanegbi resigned from "Kadima" and returned to the Likud when "Kadima" decided to leave the short-lived unity government in July 2012. Hanegbi explained that he believed Kadima's decision to quit the unity government was irresponsible, and motivated by short-term political goals.[4] Following his decision, Hanegbi was elected in January 2013 as a Member of the 19th Knesset representing the Likud.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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