Shmuel Avital was born in Morocco in 1952 and immigrated to Israel in 1953. He attended the Eshel Hanasi agricultural high school and, following his army service in the armored corps, studied literature and history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Avital served in many public positions, among them Deputy Director-General of the Agricultural Development Authority, Secretary of the Labor Party moshavim district, and Chairman of the Negev Moshavim Organization. In 1996 he was appointed Treasurer of the Histadrut.
Elected to the Knesset on the Labor Party ticket in the 13th Knesset (1992-1996), he served on the Committees for Economics Committee and Internal Affairs and Environment. He also headed the Negev and agriculture lobbies.
In March 2001, Shmuel Avital was appointed Minister without Portfolio, responsible for coordinating social affairs.
Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs