Gantz said to weigh tapping Amir Peretz as IAI board chair

Former Labor party leader was instrumental in getting Iron Dome system approved during a stint as defense minister; move requires approval from Finance Minister Liberman

Amir Peretz meets with Benny Gantz at the Knesset, on October 28, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Amir Peretz meets with Benny Gantz at the Knesset, on October 28, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is considering appointing Former Labor party leader Amir Peretz as chairperson of the Israel Aerospace Industries board, the Calcalist financial newspaper reported Sunday.

The position was vacated at the beginning of 2021 after the previous chairman, Harel Locker, stepped down and was appointed chairman of the Paz Oil Company.

Amir Peretz also served as Defense Minister between 2006–2007, which included the 2006 Lebanon War and was instrumental in getting the Iron Dome defense system, developed in part by IAI, approved.

It remains unclear when Gantz is expected to bring the motion for approval. Calcalist said that it would require the authorization of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who too served at the defense post between 2016–2018.

Peretz, 69, led the Labor party until January. He announced then that he would not run for the Knesset in the March elections, amid intense criticism of his decision to join the Netanyahu-led government after vowing not to do so, and with polls showing Labor failing to enter the Knesset.

At the time he was the longest-serving MK, having served continuously since 1988 except a three-month break at the end of 2012.

He also considered a run in the recent presidential elections, but announced in May he was quitting the race.

Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defence system is launched to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, above the southern city of Ashkelon, on May 17, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

The IAI chair board position is extremely sought-after according to Calcalist, with the company having a turnover of over USD $4 billion.

IAI develops and manufactures advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. Since 1953, the company has provided technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide, including satellites, missiles, weapon systems and munitions, unmanned and robotic systems, and radar.

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