Amir Peretz is the Minister of Economy and Industry of the State of Israel as of May 2020, and a member of the twenty-first Knesset (Israeli Parliament) leading the Labor party. Mr. Amir Peretz is an experienced politician elected to the Knesset for the first time in 1988. Peretz was the Leader of the Opposition (2005-2006), and led the Labor party twice (2005-2006 and since
Throughout the years, he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister (2006-2007), and as the Minister of Environmental Protection (2013-2014). Peretz is widely regarded as a Knesset Member who has placed social issues at the top of the public agenda, ensuring that they are a priority for all political parties. As early as 1984, during his tenure as the mayor of Sderot, contrary to the prevailing spirit at the time in Israel, especially in his city and similarly in other developing small towns, he supported the establishment of a Palestinian State.
As the Minister of Environmental Protection, Peretz promoted, among other things, the "Plastic Bag Law", which reduced plastic pollution in Israel by 80%. As the Minister of Defense, Peretz prioritized the protection of the Home Front of the State of Israel by supporting the development of the long-range "Arrow" missile defense system and the mid-range "David's Sling" system. He also was the one to advance the famed "Iron Dome" missile defense system, designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets, which eventually became the Home Front's most important defense asset of Israel, also receiving financial support from the US Administration for it.
From 1995 to 2005 Peretz served as the Chairman of the Histadrut, the General Workers' Union. In this role, he preserved many jobs through social struggles and protected the workers' provident funds, pension and other savings plans. In addition, he harnessed the Histadrut's power to protect underprivileged populations and unprotected workers, including
the disabled and the deaf.
Amir Peretz was the mayor of Sderot, a city in the south of Israel, where he grew up. He was born in Morocco in the city of Boujad in 1952, and immigrated to Israel when he was only 4-years-old. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in the Paratroopers Brigade. During his service he was injured in both his legs in a Sinai Peninsula military operation.
At the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Minister Peretz put forth the ‘human economy’ policy – according to which every person deserves to make a decent living, to live and to grow old with dignity. The 'human economy' policy stands on a three-legged stool program: encouraging the consumption of Israeli made products, providing unemployment benefits for the self-employed who were severely affected by the Corona virus crisis, and the implementation of the so called "the German Model" – a flexible unpaid vacation model.
Amir earned his Bachelor's degree with honors in social sciences and humanities from the Open University of Israel. He and his wife Achlama have four children, five grandchildren, five dogs, five cats, and one joint vision.