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Effi Eitam

(1952 - )

Efraim "Effi" Eitam is an Israeli politician and a Brigadier General (retired) in the Israel Defense Forces.

Eitam (born July 25, 1952) was born in Kibbutz Ein Gev. He holds an M.A. in Political Science and in International Relations from Haifa University and is also a former student of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Eitam is a Brigadier General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces, and is considered a war hero having earned Israel's Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War for stopping Syrian tanks from penetrating the Golan Heights. He also participated in Operation Entebbe, during which he commanded the Sayeret Golani. He also commanded an infantry battalion in Operation Litani and an officers' school battalion during the 1982 Lebanon War. During the first Intifada he commanded the Givati Brigade.

In April 2002, Eitam was selected leader of the National Religious Party and despite not being a member of the Knesset, was appointed Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet that same month. In September 2002, he was appointed Minister of National Infrastructures. He was first elected to the Knesset in 2003 and served as Minister of Housing and Construction from 2003 to 2004.

In June 2004, Eitam and Yitzhak Levy quit the NRP in protest to the Sharon disengagement plan and eventually formed their own party, the Renewed Religious National Zionist Party (renamed Ahi). Ahi merged with National Union in 2006, but established itself as an independent party again in 2008. Prior to the 2009 elections, Ahi merged with Likud, but Eitam decided to retire from political life.

He is married and has eight children.

Sources: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Wikipedia