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Rafael “Rafi” Peretz

(1956 - )

Rafael “Rafi” Peretz (Hebrew: רפי פרץ‎) was born on January 7, 1956. He is an Orthodox rabbi and former military officer who served as the Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces.

As a teenager, Peretz attended the “Netiv Meir” yeshiva of Bnei Akiva.

Prior to being promoted to the rank of brigadier general, Peretz was the head of the Otzem Pre-Military Academy in Yated and a major (reserves) in the Air Force, where he served as a helicopter pilot.

Peretz was recruited to join the Jewish Home Party and was elected its leader on February 4, 2019.

In the runup to the 2019 elections, he agreed to form a joint list with National Union chair Bezalel Smotrich. Under the arrangement, Peretz will head the combined list and Smotrich will be number two and be given the ministerial portfolio that the party would likely receive if it enters the governing coalition.

The two parties were pressured to merge out of fear neither would win seats in the Knesset and the right-wing might be unable to form a coalition. With the rising popularity of the Kahol Lavan Party, the possibility of a center-left coalition winning the election prompted the two parties to join with two other right-wing parties – Tkuma, and Otzma Yehudit.

Peretz is married to Michal and they have 12 children. They lived in Gush Katif in Gaza before the disengagement and now reside in Naveh.

Sources: “Rafi Peretz,” Wikipedia;
“Rabbi Rafi Peretz invited to run on Bennett and Shaked’s list,” Arutz Sheva, (January 1, 2019);
Jacob Magid, “Jewish Home and National Union agree to reunite for Knesset run,” Times of Israel, (February 15, 2019);
Lahav Harkov, “Former IDF chief rabbi Rafi Peretz elected to lead Bayit Yehudi,” Jerusalem Post, (February 3, 2019).