NISSIM, MOSHE (1935–). Israeli politician and lawyer, and member of the Fourth, and then Seventh to Thirteenth Knessets. Born in Jerusalem, Nissim was the son of Rabbi Isaac *Nissim, who served as Sephardi chief rabbi from 1955 to 1973. Nissim went to the Magen David primary school and the Ma'aleh High School in Jerusalem, and received an M.A. in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1964. He served in the IDF as a law officer. He was first elected to the Knesset on the list of the *General Zionists in 1959, at the age of 24, and was thus the youngest person ever elected to the Knesset. He was a delegate to numerous Zionist Congresses on behalf of the World Association of the General Zionists. In 1977 he was elected chairman of the *Israel Liberal Party executive, and was a member of its presidium. In 1978 he was elected chairman of the *Likud executive.
Until the Ninth Knesset, Nissim served on various Knesset committees. From January 1978 until August 1980 he served as minister without portfolio, and from August 1980 to April 1986 as minister of justice. Together with Labor's Moshe *Shahal, Nissim drafted the coalition agreement for the National Unity government established in 1984, on the basis of parity and rotation in the premiership. In 1986 he replaced Yitzhak *Modai in the Ministry of Finance, and continued the policy of economic stabilization introduced by him, in addition to reducing both income tax and corporate taxes. As minister of finance he also successfully refinanced the government debt to the U.S., through the Wall Street capital markets. In the National Unity government formed after the elections to the Twelfth Knesset in 1988 he was appointed minister without portfolio, and in March 1990 minister of industry and trade, replacing Ariel *Sharon, who had resigned from the government over the plan to hold elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the government formed by Yitzhak *Shamir in June 1990, he was appointed deputy prime minister as well. After the elections to the Thirteenth Knesset, which the Likud lost, Nissim served on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. As a politician Nissim was known for his mild manner. After retiring from politics in 1996 Nissim returned to practicing law, serving as arbitrator and mediator in commercial disputes. He served as chairman of the Public Commission on the Immunity of Knesset Members and of the Public Commission on the Reclassification of Public Lands, and he was a member of the Public Commission on the Status and Authority of the Attorney General.
[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.