Yitzhak Mordechai

Yitzhak Mordechai


Date of birth = Birth date and age|1944|11|22|df=y
Year of Aliyah = 1949
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 14th, 15th
Party = Centre Party
Former parties = Likud
Gov't roles = Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Defense
Minister of Transport

Yitzhak Mordechai ( _he. יצחק מרדכי, born 22 November 1944) was an Israeli general, and later Minister of Defense and Minister of Transport. He retired from political life in 2000 after being indicted for sexual misconduct during his military service. His eventual conviction in some of these charges ended his public career.

On June 28 2006, as Moshe Katzav did 6 months later, in an interview with Israeli TV Mordechai denied all charges of sexual misconduct and stated that the Tel Aviv court had made "a very big mistake" in that he had become the victim of a political conspiracy.

Military service

Mordechai was born in Iraq and emigrated to Israel in 1949. In 1962 he enlisted to the Engineering Corps and later volunteered to the paratroopers brigade. In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he was battalion commander in one of the heaviest battles in the Sinai, and was decorated with the Medal of Courage.

In 1984, in what became known as the Kav 300 affair, Mordechai, then a Brigadier General, was wrongfully framed for the killing of two Palestinian bus hijackers (see Shin Bet). Mordechai was tried, and acquitted when the truth became known. He was promoted to the rank of Major General in 1986, and became known as the "General of the Three Commands", after serving as commander of all three territorial commands (North, Center and South). The Intifada broke out in 1988, when Mordechai was commander of the Southern Command. As commander of the Northern Command he commanded over Operation Accountability in 1993.

Mordechai retired from active service in 1995 after 33 years of service, when the new Chief of General Staff (Amnon Lipkin-Shahak) refused to appoint him as his deputy.

Political service

In 1996, Mordechai joined the Likud party, helping Benjamin Netanyahu win the 1996 general elections and become Prime Minister of Israel. Mordechai joined Netanyahu's new government as Defense Minister, where he became Lipkin-Shahak's boss.

In 1999, a public rift occurred between Mordechai and Netanyahu because of political rivalry and difference of opinion regarding the negotiations with Palestinians. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai shortly before Mordechai would have reportedly resigned. Mordechai formed the new Center Party, along with Lipkin-Shahak (who retired from army service shortly before) and other prominent politicians. Despite strong initial poll results, the party fared badly in that year's general elections. The party joined Ehud Barak's new Labor government and Mordechai became Minister of Transport.

Mordechai resigned from his ministerial position in 2000 after being indicted for sexual misconduct during his military service. He resigned from the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 2001. His eventual conviction in some of these charges ended his public career and reportedly also his marriage. The Center Party formally disbanded early in 2001.

Education and personal information

Mordechai holds a B.A. in History from Tel Aviv University, and an M.A. in Political Science from Haifa University. He is divorced and has one child.

External links

* [http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=87 Yitzhak Mordechai on the Knesset website (in English)]

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