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Eli Ben-Dahan

(1954 - )

Eli Ben-Dahan is an Israeli rabbi and politician. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home. From 2013-2015 he served as Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs. He is the current Deputy Minister of Defense.

The eldest of five boys, Ben-Dahan was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and immigrated to Israel in 1956 at the age of two, his family settling in Beersheba. He studied at the Nativ Meir and Mercaz HaRav yeshivas, and is an ordained rabbi. During his national service in the IDF he became a major in the Artillery Corps. He later went on to gain a teaching certificate, a bachelor's degree in business administration from Touro College, and a master's degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was ordained by Rabbis Chalom Messas, Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu.

In 1978 Ben-Dahan was amongst the founders of the Haspin settlement in the Golan Heights. In 1983 he moved to Beit El settlement in the West Bank after being asked by Mordechai Eliyahu to manage his office. He became Director-General of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Rabbinical Court system in 1989, holding the post for 21 years. During his tenure as director of the rabbinical courts, he promoted legislation to enact punitive sanctions on husbands who refused their wives a get (bill of divorce), had the divorce process streamlined, and promoted the introduction of female advocates into the rabbinical courts.

Prior to the 2013 Knesset elections he was placed fourth on the Jewish Home list, entering the Knesset as the party won twelve seats.

He currently lives in Har Homa in East Jerusalem and is married with nine children.

Ben-Dahan has stated that he plans to write and pursue a series of bills in the Knesset. His first planned bill will be one allowing the extradition of any man who refuses his wife a get (bill of divorce) to Israel from abroad, followed by legislation improving the country's periphery and improving relations between religion and the state. In addition, he has also stated that he will dedicate himself to father's rights and family values. Among his plans are the establishment of an authority to enforce parenting arrangements to prevent one parent from withholding a child during the other's court-ordered parenting time, impose harsh penalties for filing false claims of domestic abuse, and replace the Knesset's current Committee for the Advancement of Women and Committee for Children's Rights with a unified Committee for the Family.

Sources: Mauer, Naomi. “Rabbi Ben Dahan, Jewish Home: I’ve Worked Hard on Behalf of Women,” The Jewish Press (January 16, 2013)
Sharon, Jeremy. “Meet the MK: Eli Ben-Dahan” The Jerusalem Post (January 15, 2013)
The Jewish Home Central Elections Committee
Ronen, Gil. “NU's new #2: I'll fight for family values,” Israel National News (November 19, 2012)
The Knesset


Wikimedia, By Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan his official Facebook page) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons