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August 29, 2016 10:40 am

Former Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer Dies at Age 80

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Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. Photo: Twitter.

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. Photo: Twitter. – Veteran Israeli politician Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, known in Israel as “Fuad,” died on Sunday from renal failure complications.

Ben-Eliezer was a longtime Labor Party MK who has held several important defense and government positions. Born in Iraq, he immigrated to Israel in 1950 at age 14. He served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for many years and entered politics in 1984. He served on the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and was re-elected to the Knesset several times. He held many roles including as defense minister and Labor Party leader.

Ben-Eliezer also “developed a significant friendship with the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with whom he had a close and genuine relationship,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a statement.

In 2013, Ben-Eliezer ran for president but dropped out due to a criminal investigation against him alleging financial corruption. However, the investigation was halted due to his ill health, and he retired from politics in 2014. He was hospitalized on Aug. 25 for emergency surgery, but his condition worsened and he died on Aug. 28. He is survived by his wife and five children.

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“Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was a man with numerous credits to his name, who dedicated his life to safeguarding Israel,” President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement, Israel Hayom reported.

“Fuad served the state of Israel for decades as a fighter, a commander, a public servant and a senior government minister. I knew him and I appreciated his contribution and his special personality. May his memory be blessed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

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