Weizman, Ezer (āˈzər vĪtˈsmän) [key], 1924–2005, Israeli military officer and politician, president of Israel (1993–2000), b. Tel Aviv. A nephew of Chaim Weizmann, he helped found the Israeli air force, serving in it from 1948 to 1966 and rising to the rank of major general and commanding officer. As military chief of operations he was credited with engineering Israel's victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, in which the air force played a crucial role. He left the military in 1969 to enter politics, serving as minister of transport (1969–70), defense (1977–80), communications (1984–88), and science (1988–92). A Likud party member, the outspoken Weizman became disenchanted with the policies of Menachem Begin and joined the Labor party in the mid-1980s. When he was elected president in 1993, the former hard-liner had by then become a leading spokesman for peace with Israel's Arab neighbors and negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Reelected in 1998, he resigned under pressure in 2000 after he was criticized for (but not charged with) financial misdealings.
See his On Eagles' Wings (tr. 1976) and The Battle for Peace (tr. 1981).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.