Ministry of Defense (Israel)

The Ministry of Defense (Hebrew: מִשְׂרַד הַבִּטָּחוֹן, Misrad HaBitahon) of the government of Israel, is the governmental department responsible for defending the State of Israel from internal and external military threats. Its political head is the Defense Minister of Israel, and its offices are located in HaKirya, Tel Aviv.

Ministry of Defense
משרד הביטחון

Ministry of Defense headquarters
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Israel
HeadquartersMatcal Tower, HaKirya, Tel Aviv
32°4′30.97″N 34°47′24.55″E
Annual budget56 billion New Shekel
Minister responsible
Child agency

The Ministry of Defense oversees most of the Israeli security forces, including the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel Military Industries (IMI), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).[1]

The MOD was established when the British Mandate of Palestine ended, and the British Army departed Palestine and the State of Israel was formed. This ended the rag-tag militia units during British rule and gave way to the formal defense of the Jewish state.

Minister of Defense

The Defense Minister of Israel (Hebrew: שַׂר הַבִּטָּחוֹן, Sar HaBitahon, lit. Minister of Security)[2] heads the ministry. The post is considered to be the second most important position in the Israeli cabinet, and usually has a Deputy Minister. The Defense Minister is also a permanent member of the Security Cabinet. Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu was sworn in on 31 March 2016 as Israel's new Minister of Defense.

Due to the great importance of the defense portfolio, prime ministers have often held the position in addition to their prime ministerial duties; seven of the sixteen Defense Ministers to date were also serving Prime Ministers. Five of them (Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya'alon) are also former Chiefs of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

Amongst the duties of the post, Defense Ministers can request administrative detention. Because of the intensive work and the tension between the political echelon to the military echelon, frequently disagreements and difference of opinion are created between the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff.

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List of ministers

# Minister Party Governments Term start Term end Notes
1David Ben-GurionMapaiP, 1, 2, 3, 414 May 194826 January 1954Serving Prime Minister
2Pinhas LavonMapai526 January 195421 February 1955
David Ben-GurionMapai5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1021 February 195526 June 1963Serving Prime Minister
3Levi EshkolMapai, Alignment11, 12, 1326 June 19635 June 1967Serving Prime Minister
4Moshe DayanRafi, Labor Party, Alignment13, 14, 15, 165 June 19673 June 1974
5Shimon PeresAlignment173 June 197420 June 1977
6Ezer WeizmanLikud1820 June 197728 May 1980
7Menachem BeginLikud1828 May 19805 August 1981Serving Prime Minister
8Ariel SharonLikud195 August 198114 February 1983
Menachem BeginLikud1914 February 198323 February 1983Serving Prime Minister
9Moshe ArensLikud19, 2023 February 198313 September 1984
10Yitzhak RabinAlignment21, 22, 2313 September 198415 March 1990
Moshe ArensLikud2411 June 199013 July 1992
Yitzhak RabinLabor Party2513 July 19924 November 1995Serving Prime Minister, assassinated
Shimon PeresLabor Party25, 264 November 199518 June 1996Serving Prime Minister
11Yitzhak MordechaiLikud2718 June 199625 January 1999
Moshe ArensLikud2727 January 19996 July 1999
12Ehud BarakOne Israel286 July 19997 March 2001Serving Prime Minister
13Binyamin Ben-EliezerLabor Party297 March 20012 November 2002
14Shaul MofazLikud29, 304 November 20024 May 2006Not an MK at start of term in office
15Amir PeretzLabor Party314 May 200618 June 2007
Ehud BarakLabor Party, Independence31, 3218 June 200718 March 2013Not an MK at start of term in office
16Moshe Ya'alonLikud33, 3418 March 201322 May 2016
Benjamin NetanyahuLikud3422 May 201630 May 2016Serving Prime Minister
Acting minister
17Avigdor LiebermanYisrael Beiteinu3430 May 201618 November 2018[3]
19Benjamin Netanyahu[4][5]Likud3418 November 2018[3]8 November 2019Serving Prime Minister
20Naftali BennettNew Right348 November 2019Incumbent

Deputy ministers

# Minister Party Governments Term start Term end
1Shimon PeresMapai9, 10, 11, 1221 December 195925 May 1965
2Zvi DinsteinAlignment1317 January 19665 June 1967
3Mordechai TziporiLikud18, 1928 June 197710 October 1983
4Michael DekelLikud21, 223 December 198521 November 1988
5Ovadia EliLikud248 July 199113 July 1992
6Mordechai GurLabor Party254 August 199216 July 1995
7Ori OrrLabor Party2627 November 199518 June 1996
8Silvan ShalomLikud279 July 19976 July 1999
9Efraim SnehOne Israel285 August 19997 March 2001
10Dalia Rabin-PelossofLabor Party297 March 20011 August 2002
11Weizman ShiryLabor Party2912 August 20022 November 2002
12Ze'ev BoimLikud
305 March 200318 January 2006
Efraim SnehLabor Party3130 October 200618 June 2007
13Matan VilnaiLabor Party31, 322 July 200718 January 2011
14Danny DanonLikud3318 March 201315 July 2014
15Eli Ben-DahanThe Jewish Home3419 May 2015Incumbent [3]

Directors General

# Director General Term start Term end
1Levi Eshkol19481948
2Eliezer Peri19481949
3Pinchas Sapir19491951
4Ze'ev Schind19511952
5Shimon Peres (acting)19521953
Shimon Peres19531959
6Asher Ben-Natan (acting)19591960
Asher Ben-Natan19601965
9Moshe Kasti19651970
10Yeshayahu Lavie19701972
11Yitzhak Ironi19721975
12Pinhas Zusman19751978
13Yosef Ma'ayan19781982
14Aharon Bet-Halachmi19821983
15Menachem Maron19831986
16David Ivry19861996
17Ilan Biran19961999
18Amos Yaron19992005
19Jacob Toren20052006
20Gabi Ashkenazi20062007
21Pinchas Buchris20072010
22Ehud Shani20102013
23Dan Harel20132016
24Udi Adam2016present



  1. Israel Ministry of Defense (in Hebrew)
  2. In Israel, although the "Security Minister" (שר הביטחון) title is translated in English as "Defense Minister," in Hebrew, the Defense Ministers of other countries are more often referred to as "Defense Minister" (Hebrew: שר ההגנה, Sar HaHagana).
  3. Raoul Wootliff (18 November 2018). "After Jewish Home anger, Netanyahu says he'll reappoint deputy defense minister". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
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