Former Israeli defence minister Moshe Arens dies aged 93

Likud politician was Benjamin Netanyahu's mentor and credited with bringing him into politics


The former Israeli defence and foreign minister Moshe Arens has died at the age of 93.

The Lithuanian-born politician was raised in the United States but became a senior figure in the governing Likud party and an early mentor to Benjamin Netanyahu, bringing him into Israeli politics.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister paid tribute to his service to Israel, saying he had visited Mr Arens only a few weeks before.

Mr Netanyahu said there was "no greater patriot than him", adding that he loved him as "a son loves his father".

President Reuven Rivlin added: “Misha was one of the most important ministers of defense the State of Israel ever had. He was not a commander or a general, but a devoted man of learning who toiled day and night for the security of Israel and its citizens. 

“His important contributions to correcting the historical record regarding the role of the Jewish Military Union (ZZW) in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising will also never be forgotten.”

Moshe Arens was a trained engineer who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1950s, becoming instrumental in developing Israel's military and aircraft industries.

He later entered politics and served in the Knesset between 1974 until his retirement in 1999, apart from a brief stint in 1982 as Israeli ambassador to the United States.

In his later years he lived in Savyon, east of Tel Aviv.

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