Eitan, Raphael

(formerly Kaminsky; Raful)
   Born in Tel Adashim and educated at Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities, he pursued a military career, joining the Palmah at the age of 16 and ultimately serving as the 11th chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 1978 to 1983. He was a war hero. The Kahan Commission found that he should have anticipated the danger posed by the Christians to the Palestinians and opposed their admission to the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
   Eitan first joined the Knesset in 1984 on the Tehiya-Tsomet list. In 1988, he and Tsomet ran as a separate electoral list, winning two Knesset seats. In June 1990, Tsomet joined the Yitzhak Shamir-led coalition, with Eitan serving as minister of agriculture. Initially expressing an interest in running for the direct election of the prime minister in 1996, Eitan ultimately agreed to withdraw his candidacy and to have Tsomet enter into a joint electoral list along with Likud and Gesher. Eitan served as minister of agriculture and rural development, minister of the environment, and deputy prime minister in the government formed by Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu after the May 1996 election (see KNESSET ELECTIONS). He and Tsomet failed to pass the threshold for winning seats in the election to the 15th Knesset held on 17 May 1999. Eitan drowned off the port of Ashdod in 2004.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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