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Educational Resources

MK Amram Mitzna -- Biography


Prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Member of Knesset (MK) Amram Mitzna, made a pact with his army mates: they each grew a beard and pledged not to shave it until there was peace.

Thirty-six years of service to country later, Mitzna still wears his beard, which is now deservedly grey. Mitzna is, today, one of Israel's most decorated war veterans and one of its most distinguished and distinct political voices.

Amram Mitzna, the son of German Jewish refugees, was born at Kibbutz Dovrat in 1945. He holds a B.A. in Geography, a M.A. in Political Science from Haifa University, and an MA in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Mitzna joined the IDF in 1963. He served in the 1967, 1973 and Lebanon Wars in the Armored Corps and rose readily from tank commander to divisional commander. He was wounded twice and was awarded two Medals of Distinguished Service. From 1986-1990 he served as GOC Central Command, overall commander in the West Bank during the early years of the first Palestinian intifada. In 1990 he was appointed head of the IDF Planning Division and in 1993 retired from IDF with the rank of major general.

Mitzna established himself as a voice of the nation's conscience, when he became one of only two generals to resign in protest over Israel's long involvement in Lebanon. He did so in a controversial 1982 letter to then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, criticizing then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon's involvement in the Palestinian Massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. It was upon Begin's own insistence that Mitzna was soon returned to the high command.

In November 1993, Amram Mitzna was elected mayor of Haifa and was reelected to a second term with a majority of 65% of the votes. During his two terms as mayor, Mitzna formed a viable coalition between Labor and Likud.

In August 2002, Mitzna announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Labor party, and for the premiership ahead of 2003 elections, and in November 2002 was elected party chairman. Elected to the Knesset in January 2003, he resigned as chairman of the Labor party in May 2003.

Mitzna is married with three children.

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