About

Moshe_Arens_croppedMoshe Arens entered the political arena in 1973, when he was elected to the Knesset on the Likud party list. He has since served as Foreign Minister, in the Shamir government, and three times as Defense Minister, in the governments of Begin, Shamir, and Netanyahu. He also served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States. The author of two books, Arens currently writes a column for Haaretz Newspaper and serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Ariel University in Samaria.

Arens was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on December 27, 1925. In 1927 his family moved to Riga, Latvia, and then in September 1939 to the U.S., settling in New York City. After graduating George Washington High School in 1943, Arens began studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His studies were disrupted in August 1944, however, when he enlisted in the U.S. army. He served in the Engineers Corps and was discharged in two years later with the rank of Sergeant First Class. He returned to MIT, receiving a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in September 1947.

Upon graduation, Arens was elected national leader of the Brith Trumpeldor (Betar) Zionist youth movement, which was affiliated with the Revisionists’ Irgun Zvai Leumi. After a one-year term of office, he immigrated to Israel. Soon after that, he traveled to North Africa as an Irgun emissary, and then returned to Israel to join a group of North American Betar members who settled in Mevo Betar, a border settlement in the Judean hills.

In 1951 Arens went back to the U.S., where he earned an M.Sc., specializing in jet propulsion, from the California Institute of Technology. He worked as a jet engine development engineer at the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in New Jersey until 1957, when he returned to Israel and joined the aeronautical engineering department at the Technion in Haifa. While an associate professor, Arens was offered a position as Vice-President of Engineering at the Israel Aircraft Industries. There he managed aircraft and missile development projects, for which he was awarded the Israel Defense Prize in 1971. That same year, he established Cybernetics, a high-tech consulting company.

Arens was elected to the Knesset in 1973 and served as a member of the Finance Committee. With the Likud victory in 1977, he became chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1982 he left the Knesset to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., but returned a year later, when he was appointed Defense Minister by Menachem Begin. In 1988, he became Foreign Minister under Yitzhak Shamir, then returned to the defense portfolio in 1990. He was appointed Defense Minister a third time by Benjamin Netanyahu, in 1999.

Since leaving politics Arens has been Chairman of Teuza, a venture capital firm. He is a columnist for Haaretz, and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Ariel University in Samaria. He is the author of two books: Broken Covenant, published in 1995 by Simon and Schuster and by Yediot Sfarim in Hebrew, and Flags Over the Warsaw Ghetto, published in 2011 by Gefen Publishing House; it has also been published in Hebrew and Polish.

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