Ya'akov Katz (politician born 1951)

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Ya'akov Katz
Date of birth (1951-09-29) 29 September 1951 (age 67)
Place of birth Jerusalem, Israel
Knessets 18
Faction represented in Knesset
2009–2013 National Union

Ya’akov Dov "Katzele" Katz (Hebrew: יעקב "כצל'ה" כץ‎) (born 29 September 1951) is an Israeli politician. He led the National Union party from 2008 to 2012, for whom he was a member of the Knesset,[1] and is also the Executive Director of Beit El yeshiva Center Institutions and Arutz Sheva.

Early life[edit]

Katz was born 29 September 1951 in Jerusalem. He is a fifth generation Israeli through his mother, while his father was an immigrant from Poland who came to Palestine in the 1930s. Katz graduated from the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva High School in Kfar Haroeh, and went on to study in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem.[2]

Military career[edit]

In 1970, he enlisted in the IDF and volunteered to serve in Sayeret Shaked. He served under then OC Southern Command General Ariel Sharon in the 1971 campaign in Gaza.[3] In 1972, he completed his officers’ course with distinction and commanded his own commando unit in Sayeret Shaked.[2]

Katz served in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and was severely wounded.[4]

It was during that period that he met his future wife Tami, a sociology student at Bar-Ilan University, who had volunteered to work in Beilinson Hospital helping nurse the worst wounded.[citation needed]

Ya'akov "Ketzaleh" Katz (at left) with rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed in 1990

Beit El[edit]

After six months in hospital, he returned, on crutches, to study four more years in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, under the tutelage of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook and Mazkir Bnei Akiva Shlomo Aviner. In 1977 he joined the group that established the Beit El settlement in the West Bank. In 1978 Katz together with his Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed split with the Beit El group and founded a new settlement which was called Beit El B. Katz was one of the original members of the Gush Emunim movement.[5]

Later years[edit]

With the election of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1977, Katz, with wife and children, were among the first ten families to establish the Israeli settlement of Beit El in the northern Judean Hills surrounding Jerusalem. Katz founded the Beit-El Yeshiva Center, an educational center comprising myriad institutions with over 1,200 students: the Beit El Yeshiva and Kollel, Teachers' College, Har Brakha Hesder Yeshiva, Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva High School, Ra'aya Academy for Young Women (high school), Beit El Pre-Military Academy, as well as Arutz Sheva.

Bureaucratic life[edit]

Katz served as an assistant to Ariel Sharon when Sharon was Housing and Development Minister. Katz was involved in the absorption of olim from the former Soviet Union, and was responsible for building more than 35,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. These houses doubled the Jewish population beyond the Green Line.


In 1987, Katz bought an oceangoing vessel upon which to set up a radio station, Arutz Sheva (Channel 7), as an alternative station with a national religious orientation. The station never received a license to broadcast. After the station was shut down, in 2002, he founded the weekly Israeli newspaper BeSheva.

In 2003, he was convicted of operating an illegal radio station and on two counts of perjury for having lied about the location of the broadcasts.[6] In 2006, President Moshe Katsav pardoned him.

Political career[edit]

In December 2008, Katz became chairman of the National Union alliance. In the 2009 elections the party won four seats, and Katz entered the Knesset.

Katz pledges to rebuild sovereign Jewish Gaza.[7]

In a March 2010 proposal to curb illegal immigration and the increase of illegal work aliens, Katz has suggested that a "special town" be created in southern Israel that would be "less convenient and glamorous" then the currently attractive city of Tel Aviv.[8]

He was the first MK to propose a Yom HaAliyah.[9] It would later be passed as law and established as the fifth Israeli Secular Israeli holiday.

Katz did not contest the 2013 elections, and consequently lost his Knesset seat.

Personal life[edit]

Akiva Margaliot released a CD called "Aseh" containing songs with musical arrangements composed by Katz.[10]

He is married with seven children.


  1. ^ Fendel, Hillel (20 January 2009). "Ketzaleh Convenes Party to Plan Campaign Strategy". Israel National News. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Yaakov Katz (Ketzele)- Chairman of the Ichud Leumi Party‚ in an Exclusive Interview to Eretz Yisroel Shelanu". Eretz Yisroel Shelanu. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Ariel Sharon". ynetnews.com. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  4. ^ Gedalyahu, Ben Tzvi (25 September 2012). "Yom Kippur War Survivor". Arutz Sheva. Israel National News. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  5. ^ Pedahzur, Ami (2012), The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 99.
  6. ^ Arutz Sheva senior personnel sentenced The Jerusalem Post, 30 December 2003
  7. ^ "Katz: We Will Return to Gush Katif". Israel National News.com. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  8. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3866809,00.html
  9. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/Bill-seeks-to-establish-national-Aliya-Day-345758
  10. ^ "Jewish Music News" (in Hebrew). Chasidi News. September 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2011.

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