Jerusalem, Mar. 28 – Former defense minister and peace process supporter Shaul Mofaz was elected as the new leader of Israel’s Kadima political party Tuesday.
The outspoken former head of the Israel Defense Forces defeated incumbent Tzipi Livni in a leadership vote and will lead Kadima into the next elections, currently scheduled for no later than October, 2013.
Mofaz supports the peace process with the Palestinians and sees the development of a final peace treaty via an intermediate stage in which Israel will recognize a Palestinian state and Palestinian claims of the 1967 armistice lines. In return the Palestinians will give full recognition for the Israeli settlement blocs as a step towards a permanent settlement.
As commander of the IDF during Palestinian violence at the turn of the century, Mofaz has a reputation for being tough on terrorist groups like Hamas, which reject peace with Israel and are committed to its destruction.
Born in Tehran in 1948, Mofaz moved with his family from Iran to Israel in 1957. His 34-year army career reached its pinnacle when he was appointed commander of the IDF in 1998. After leaving the army, he served in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, as minister of defense and is currently sitting in opposition.
Married with four children, Mofaz has a B.A. in Business Administration from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and is a graduate of the Command and Staff College of the U.S. Marine Corps.