Roni Bar-On


Roni Bar-On

MKs


Date of birth = 2 June 1948
Year of Aliyah =
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 16th, 17th (current)
Party = Kadima
Former parties = Likud
Gov't roles = Minister of Finance
Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister of National Infrastructure
Minister of Science & Technology

Roni Bar-On ( _he. רוני בר-און, born 2 June 1948) is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He was elected to the 17th Knesset on Kadima's list and currently serves as Minister of Finance.

Background

Bar-On was born in Tel Aviv shortly after Israeli independence in 1948. After his national service in which he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, he studied law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Whilst working as a lawyer he became a Justice in the Military Court of Appeals in the Judea and Samaria.

In 1997 he was appointed Attorney General, but resigned as a consequence of heavy criticisms related the 'Bar-On Hebron' scandal, which involved allegations against officials that they recommended Bar-On to the position in order to aid organized crime.

Prior to his political career, Bar-On served, among others, as Chairman of the Council for the Organisation of Sport Gambling (1998-2001), member of the Central Committee of the Israel Bar (1995-2003) and the Jerusalem Regional Committee of the Israeli Bar, as well as a member of the Council for the Administrative Courts, the Advisory Commission to the Government Companies Authority and the Public Defenders Commission. In addition, he served as Chairman of Beitar Jerusalem's committee, and also on the committee of the Israel Football Association. [ [http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Personalities/From+A-Z/Ronnie+Bar-On.htm Ronnie Bar-On] Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in English)]

He is married with three children.

Politics

Bar-On entered the political world when he was elected to the 16th Knesset in 2003 on Likud's list. He served as Chairman of the House Committee, and a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice and State Control Committees, as well as a substitute member of the Foreign Affairs. He is also a member of the Defense Committee and a member of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on Violence in Sports, as well as a member of the Environmental Lobby. He also served as member of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee for Uncovering Corruption in the Government System of Israel. [ [http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=735 Roni Bar-On] Knesset website (in English)]

When Ariel Sharon broke with his party to form Kadima, Bar-On followed him, and was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure and Minister of Science and Technology for the last three months of the Knesset's term.

After the 2006 elections, Ehud Olmert appointed him Minister of Internal Affairs. He was also considered for the post of Justice Minister after Haim Ramon's conviction for sexual harassment, but withdrew his candidacy on 4 February, 2007. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/821776.html Bar-On withdraws candidacy for position of justice minister] Haaretz, 5 February 2007] As part of a cabinet reshuffle in July 2007 he was appointed Finance Minister, despite having no economic experience.

Criticism of conduct

Racism towards Israeli Arabs

Bar-On, in his capacity as Interior Minister, has refused to allot money for Israeli Arabs to build public shelters and warning sirens to escape bombings and violence. The mayor of Nazareth, Ramez Jeraisi, has repeatedly requested funds for this purpose, noting that the neighboring Jewish city of Nazareth Illit has been provided with the equipment already. [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/5B036E77-E9AA-45A9-BC64-531732AF1EB0.htm Israeli-Arabs killed in attack] Al Jazeera, 27 July 2006]

On July 19, 2006, Bar-On verbally attacked Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli Arab MK on the Knesset floor calling him "a snake born to a snake". He added, "I'd be happy if you would join some of your friends in Lebanon to enjoy what they are enjoying now", a reference to Israel's bombing campaign in Lebanon that had commenced a week prior. Zahalka reportedly criticised the government's actions in Lebanon and the high civilian death toll. [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=24627 Dissenting voices for peace] Al Jazeera, 4 August 2006]

Insensitivity towards fleeing civilians

Bar-On was severely criticized for "ignorance, arrogance and insensitivity" in a signed article in Haaretz on August 6, 2006, for saying that any municipal worker in the north of Israel who travelled south to seek shelter from Katyushas was a deserter and would not be paid.

References


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