Doron Avital sworn in as Kadima MK instead of deceased Boim

Former commander of elite IDF unit Sayeret Matkal hopes to be active in Foreign Affairs and Defense C’tee.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
March 31, 2011 03:35
2 minute read.

 
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For the second time this week, the Knesset gained a new voice with the swearing-in of Kadima MK Doron Avital.

Avital is a newcomer to the Knesset, and to politics, who was ranked 32nd in the party’s list.

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Following the resignations of Haim Ramon and Tzachi Hanegbi, and the death of Avner Barzani (number 31 on the party list), Avital was the next in line after the recent death of MK Ze’ev Boim 10 days ago.

Avital acknowledged that he may have seemed, in some ways, a distant contender to enter the 18th Knesset – but stressed that he actually garnered one-third of Kadima members’ votes in the party primaries.

As a former commander of the elite Matkal special forces unit, Avital said Wednesday that he hopes to be active in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which he deemed a “natural place” for him, as he is already in close contact with many of the current heads of security organizations.

Avital, who describes his ideal role as Foreign Minister, also said that he is interested in the foreign affairs side of the powerful committee – particularly in “the European Union and the way that coalitions are reorganizing themselves in that framework.”

A close second for Avital is the Economic Affairs Committee, where he hopes to focus on topics related to technology and hi-tech.

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After taking his oath of office on the last day of the plenum before the Passover Recess, Avital said he hopes he will have an opportunity to learn about the work in committees before the plenum returns to action on May 16.

“I’m excited to contribute to my experiences by entering a different domain from military, technology and business, where I have been active, to politics,” he said. “I hope to work to improve the current political culture – I believe we must do something to fix the political culture. The public doesn’t have confidence in the political system, and we must restore and create this trust so that we can accomplish things.”

Avital grew up in Jerusalem, and enlisted in the IDF as a combat soldier. He completed officer training, and continued to serve in field positions, commanding Paratroopers 202 Battalion during the 1982 Lebanon War.

During his military service, he completed a BA in mathematics and computer science, and a master’s degree in history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University.

Between 1992 and 1994 he commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, a command that began with the infamous Ze’elim Base Disaster, and concluded with the successful abduction of Lebanese terrorist Mustafa Dirani.

After leaving the military, Avital enrolled in Columbia University, where he received a PhD in Logic and Philosophy.

After returning to Israel, Avital led Tel Aviv University’s School for High-Tech Management, and founded the Baram Institute for Technology and Society – as well as managing the National Library at Hebrew University.

He also served as an advising partner in a prominent investment firm, specializing in investment in advanced technologies, that have reached the final stages of development.

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