A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak (1944-2012)

Lt. Gen Amnon Lipkin-Shahak former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, advocate of peace with the Palestinians and Syria, founder of the Center Party and holder of ministerial posts  in Ehud Barak's government in the late 1990s, has died of cancer at the age of 68.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1944, he served as a Paratrooper in the 1967 War, fought in the Battle of Karameh against the PLO and in the 1995 commando raid on Beirut. In 1995 he succeeded Ehud Barak as the 15th IDF Chief of Staff,

Leaving the IDF in 1998, he became a strong critic of then (and  current) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, helped found the Center Party and, when his new party won six seats, joined Ehud Barak's coalition coalition with Ehud Barak. He served as Minister of Tourism and then Transport in Barak's Cabinet.

In 1999 he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Centre Party, which won six seats. Shahak was appointed Minister of Tourism and when Yitzhak Mordechai resigned, he took on the additional role of Transport Minister.He left the Knesset after Barak's defeat in 2001. He continued to be active in peace issues, signing the Geneva Initiative in 2003.

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