Yuval Steinitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yuval Steinitz
Munich Security Conference 2015 by Olaf Kosinsky-446.jpg
Date of birth (1958-04-10) 10 April 1958 (age 56)
Place of birth Ramot HaShavim, Israel
Knessets 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Faction represented in Knesset
1999– Likud
Ministerial roles
2009–2013 Minister of Finance
2013– Minister of Intelligence
2013– Minister of International Relations
2013– Minister of Strategic Affairs

Yuval Steinitz (Hebrew: יובל שטייניץ‎; born 10 April 1958) is an Israeli politician and Knesset member for Likud since 1999.[1] He was the Finance Minister of Israel from 2009 until 2013, when he was appointed Minister of Intelligence, Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs.


Yuval Steinitz was born and raised on Moshav Ramot HaShavim. He studied in the biology track at Katznelson High School in Kfar Saba. He was expelled for refusing to sign a letter promising to stop his argumentative behavior in class,[2] and completed his bagrut (baccalaureate high school degree) externally. He did his army service as an infantry soldier in the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces. Steinitz sustained a leg injury during a battle with the Syrian Army near Beirut in the 1982 Lebanon War.[3] He studied for a BA and MA in philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[2]

Steinitz is married to Gila Kanfy-Steinitz, a judge on the Jerusalem District Court.[4] They have three children and live in Mevaseret Zion.[2]

Academic career[edit]

His doctoral thesis, entitled From A Rational Point of View was completed at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. Steinitz was awarded the Alon Scholarship for his work. He continued his research at the University of Haifa, where he worked as a senior lecturer until entering the Knesset in 1999. While at Haifa University, Steinitz published articles on military strategy and tactics in various periodicals, including the IDF journal Marachot. At the age of 29, he published his book Invitation to Philosophy, which became the best-selling philosophy text in Israel and was reprinted 40 times.[2]

Political career[edit]

Steinitz's political involvement began in the 1980s when he joined Peace Now. He was injured during a rally in Jerusalem in 1983, when a right-wing extremist hurled a hand-grenade into the crowd, killing peace activist Emil Grunzweig.[2]

However, his objections to the Oslo Accords led him into the Likud camp.[citation needed] In the 1999 elections he was twentieth on the Likud list, but the party won only 19 seats. When Netanyahu resigned in the wake of his electoral defeat, Steinitz replaced him as next in line. During his first term in the Knesset, Steinitz served as chairman of the Subcommittee for Defense, Planning and Policy, and a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution Law and Courts Committee.

After retaining his seat in the 2003 elections, he was elected to chair the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, turning it into one of the most serious and influential bodies in the Knesset.[5] During his second term, he also chaired the Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services, the Committee for the examination of the Intelligence Services Following the War in Iraq, and co-chaired the Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and the US Congress, alongside American Senator Jon Kyl.[1]

After re-election in 2006, he continued to co-chair the Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and the US Congress, and also chaired the Subcommittee for the State of Alert and Field Security and the Sub-Committee on Intelligence & Secret Services, whilst continuing to be a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Law and Courts Committee.

He retained his seat in the 2009 elections after winning ninth place on the Likud list. He was appointed finance minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's government.[6]

He was the first Finance Minister of Israel to submit to the Knesset a two-year budget, instead of the until-then customary one-year budget. This move generated some controversy, with some accusing it of decreasing government transparency[7] and others praising it for its greater efficiency.[8]

In 2012 media reports alleged that Steinitz was attempting to create friction between Netanyahu and Barak.[9]

Prior to the elections for the 19th Knesset in 2013, Steinitz received the 24th place on the joint Likud Yisrael Beiteinu list. The list received 31 mandates, securing Steinitz's place in the 19th Knesset.

In 2013 Steinitz was repeatedly corrected by sources inside and outside of Israel on the subject of Iranian sanctions.[10]


Steinitz supported the disengagement plan in 2005, but criticized its implementation. He was particularly concerned about the IDF's intention to transfer the Philadelphi Route, a strategic buffer zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, to the Egyptians. He claimed that Egypt would not stop the arms smuggling by Palestinian terrorist groups.[11]

He has campaigned for heightened awareness of the Iranian nuclear threat, lobbying at home and abroad to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.[12]

In 2008, when Israel refused permission for Palestinian Fulbright students to leave Gaza and study in the United States, Steinitz supported this action. He told the New York Times: “We are fighting the regime in Gaza that does its utmost to kill our citizens and destroy our schools and our colleges. So I don’t think we should allow students from Gaza to go anywhere. Gaza is under siege, and rightly so, and it is up to the Gazans to change the regime or its behavior.”[13] Steinitz was against releasing terrorists convicted of murder in a prisoner exchange deal for Gilad Shalit.[2] He disagreed with former Governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, on various issues, and has a complicated relationship with Netanyahu, who bypassed him several times in his first year in office.[2]

In June 2013, when Austria planned to withdraw its UN-Troops (stationary since 1974) from the Golan Heights, Yuval Steinitz issued a statement expressing regret at the Austrian move, adding that the lesson for Israel was clear: “Even as part of peace agreements, Israel cannot place its security in the hands of international forces instead of relying on the presence of IDF soldiers.”


  1. ^ a b Yuval Steinitz Knesset website
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 'With all guns blazing' Haaretz
  3. ^ A Loyal Ally to Netanyahu Moves to Center Stage as Iranian Talks Heat Up
  4. ^ A qualitative edge: Dr. Yuval Steinitz
  5. ^ The difference is not in the warhead The Jerusalem Post
  6. ^ Netanyahu sworn in as Israel's prime minister Haaretz, 1 April 2009.
  7. ^ Two-year budget feeds corruption. Globes (27 April 2010). Retrieved on 9 September 2011.
  8. ^ A Case Study in Success: Yuval Steinitz. Frischoffthepress.com (5 October 2010). Retrieved on 9 September 2011.
  9. ^ Lis, Jonathan. "Kuwaiti newspaper names Israel's finance minister as source of Iran leaks." Haaretz Newspaper, 9 October 2012.
  10. ^ Gharib, Ali (19 November 2013). "Attacking Iran Deal, Israel Can’t Get Its Numbers Straight". medium.com. War is Boring. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Government confirms: Changes to the peace agreement with Egypt Yedioth Ahronoth, 28 August 2005 (Hebrew)
  12. ^ Claire, Sheera. (12 November 2007) Steinitz: Egypt letting Hamas build an army. Jerusalem Post. Retrieved on 9 September 2011.
  13. ^ U.S. Withdraws Fulbright Grants to Gaza. New York Times. (30 May 2008). Retrieved on 9 September 2011.

External links[edit]