Shimon Peres (Labour), Minister of Foreign Affairs, was born in Poland in 1923 and immigrated with his family as a child. He studied at the Ben Shemen Agricultural School, and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Alumot in the Jordan Valley. In 1943, he was elected secretary of the Hano'ar Ha'oved youth.india Updated: Jul 10, 2003 19:37 IST
In Israel's War of Independence, Mr Peres was responsible for arms purchases and recruitment, and in 1948 was appointed head of the naval services. In 1949, he headed the Defence Ministry's procurement delegation to the United States.
He was appointed Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Defense in 1952 and served as its Director-General between 1953-1959.
Mr Peres has been a Member of the Knesset since 1959 and served as Deputy Minister of Defense from 1959-1965. In 1965, he left the Mapai Labour Party with Ben-Gurion and became Secretary-General of Rafi. In 1968, he was instrumental in bringing Rafi back to Mapai to form the Israel Labour Party.
He became Minister of Immigrant Absorption in 1969 and served as Minister of Transport and Communications from 1970-1974. In 1974 he was appointed Minister of Information and later, Minister of Defense (1974-1977). The highlight of his tenure as Defense Minister was the Entebbe rescue operation.
In 1977, Mr. Peres was elected chairman of the Labour Alignment. In 1984, a National Unity Government was formed, and he served first as its Prime Minister (1984-1986), and then as Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1986-1988). During his term as Prime Minister, Israel withdrew from Lebanon and an economic stabilization plan was implemented.
In 1978, Mr. Peres was elected Vice-President of the Socialist International.
In the National Unity government (1988-1990), Shimon Peres served as Vice Premier and Minister of Finance. From 1990-1992, he led the opposition in the Knesset.
Mr. Peres began his second tenure as Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs on July 13, 1992 with the establishment of the new, Labour-led government.
Shimon Peres has authoured the following books: The Next Step (1965); David's Sling (1970); And Now Tomorrow (1978); From These Men (1979); Entebbe Diary (1991); The New Middle East (1993); Battling for Peace (1995). He has written hundreds of articles and essays.
Shimon Peres is married to Sonya (nee Gelman); they have two sons and a daughter - and six grandchildren.
First Published: Jun 26, 2003 19:23 IST