Rafi Peretz

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Rafi Peretz
Chief Military Rabbi Hands IDF Chief of Staff the Four Species - Flickr - Israel Defense Forces (cropped).jpg
Date of birth (1956-01-07) 7 January 1956 (age 63)
Place of birthJerusalem, Israel
Knessets21, 22
Faction represented in Knesset
2019Union of Right-Wing Parties
2019–The Jewish HomeNat. Union
Ministerial roles
2019–Minister of Education
Other roles
2010–2016Chief Military Rabbi

Rafael "Rafi" Peretz (Hebrew: רַפַאֶל "רָפִי" פֶּרֶץ; born 7 January 1956) is an Israeli Orthodox rabbi and politician. A former military officer who served as the Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, he is currently leader of the Jewish Home party and a member of the Knesset for the The Jewish HomeTkuma alliance.[1]

Military career[edit]

Prior to being promoted to the rank of brigadier general, Peretz was the head of the Otzem Pre-Military Academy in Yated, which was relocated from Bnei Atzmon, where he established it in 1993, and a major (reserves) in the Israeli Air Force, where he served as a helicopter pilot. He succeeded Rabbi Avichai Rontzki as Chief Military Rabbi in mid-2010,[2][3] serving in the post until 2016.

In November 2014, at a tense time in Jerusalem, Peretz caused a public controversy by announcing that the Temple Mount has no religious significance to the Muslim religion. He was quoted as saying, "Ninety percent of the Arabs don't know a thing about the Koran. I tell you with full authority. We know better than many of them."[4] The IDF quickly distanced itself from the rabbi's statements, and stated: "The rabbi is sorry if his remarks offended the Arab population."[5] Ynet characterized Peretz's comments as "explosive".[6]

Political career[edit]

Peretz was elected to lead the Jewish Home party on 4 February 2019.[7] The party joined the Union of the Right-Wing Parties alliance for the April 2019 Knesset elections, with Peretz as the alliance's lead candidate. He was elected to the Knesset as the coalition won five seats.

In 2019, Peretz was appointed the interim Minister of Education.[8][9]

Peretz attracted criticism from within the government and Israeli society in July 2019, when he endorsed gay conversion therapy, and claimed to have personally performed such therapy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Peretz's comments as "unacceptable".[10] On July 18, 2019, Peretz said, after protests, that he rejected gay conversion therapy.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Peretz was born in Jerusalem, to parents of Moroccan-Jewish descent.[12] He grew up in the Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood.

Peretz is married, and has 12 children. He lived in the Gush Katif settlement of Bnei Atzmon prior to the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, and now lives in Naveh.


  1. ^ Raoul Wootliff (10 October 2019). "Yamina party officially splits into New Right, Jewish Home-National Union". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  2. ^ הרב רונצקי יסיים תפקידו בקיץ. Israel National News (in Hebrew). 29 December 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  3. ^ Gedalyahu, Tzvi Ben (26 January 2010). "Rafi Peretz New Chief Rabbi of IDF: Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who danced with expulsion soldiers in Gush Katif to show unity of IDF, will replace Rabbi Ronsky". Israel National News.
  4. ^ Chaim Levinson (28 November 2014). "Chief IDF Rabbi: Temple Mount Not for Muslims". Haaretz. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  5. ^ "IDF chief rabbi: 90% of Muslims don't know Quran contents". The Times of Israel. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Chief IDF Rabbi: Muslims pray with face to Mecca, back to Jerusalem". Ynet. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. ^ Staff writer (4 February 2019). "Beit Yehudi leader slams Shaked, Bennet: You don't abandon a home". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Israel minister defends 'gay conversion therapy'". BBC. 13 July 2019.
  9. ^ Darrah, Nicole (10 July 2019). "Israeli education minister likens marriage between US Jews and non-Jews to 'second Holocaust'". Fox News.
  10. ^ Dalton, Jane (14 July 2019). "Gay conversion therapy works, and I've given it, says Israeli education minister". The Independent. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  11. ^ BILD.de: Israels Bildungsminister rudert zurück, „Ich lehne diese Praxis entschieden ab.“, July 18, 2019 (German)
  12. ^ Benny Toker (4 February 2019). "Rabbi Rafi Peretz will bring back voters". Israelnationalnews.com. Retrieved 12 June 2019.

External links[edit]