Amram Mitzna - Labor
Mitzna joined the IDF in 1963, and was commander of the West Bank during the first intifada. He left army life in 1993 and became Haifa mayor in the same year. He took the Labor leadership race by storm when he announced his candidacy in mid-2002. After leading in the polls throughout the race, he easily beat party veterans Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Haim Ramon in November.
Amram Mitzna was born in 1945, on Kibbutz Dovrat. He is married with three children and lives in Haifa.
Education BA in GeographyMBA in Political Science
IDF career Joined the army in 1963, serving mainly in the armored corps, rising from tank commander to divisional commander. He was wounded twice, in the 1967 Six-Day War and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He was awarded a Medal of Distinguished Service for his role as armored forces operations officer during 1967 war.
1982: Commander of the IDF Command College, with the rank of brigadier-general. In September 1982, Mitzna wrote a letter to then-chief of staff Rafael Eitan, saying he had lost confidence in then-defense minister Ariel Sharon because of the minister's behavior during the invasion of Lebanon. Sharon demanded Mitzna be dismissed, but prime minister Menachem Begin settled for holding two meetings with Mitzna.
1986-1990: As GOC Central Command, served as overall commander of the West Bank during the early years of the first Palestinian uprising.
1990: Head of the IDF Planning Division.
1993: Retires from IDF as major-general, concluding that he has no chance of being named chief of staff.
Political careerFrom soldier to mayor
In November 1993, Mitzna was elected mayor of Haifa, after beating incumbent Aryeh Gurel in Labor primaries. Mitzna won a majority of 65 percent of votes in the his race for a second term. During his two terms as Haifa mayor, Mitzna formed a broad coalition together with the Likud.
As mayor, Mitzna promoted construction projects of entrepreneurs and investors, while easing the statutory planning process. His principal opposition comes from environmental organizations.
Mitzna is known for good relations with the different sectors in the city: Arabs, Russian immigrants and religious Jews. Nevertheless, he never feared confronting the ultra-Orthodox on issues of operating entertainment centers and shopping malls on Saturdays.
'Lack of experience is an advantage'
In August 2002 Mitzna announced his candidacy for for the leadership of the Labor Party, and for the premiership ahead of 2003 elections.
"At this time lack of experience is an advantage," Mitzna said when declaring his candidacy, stressing credibility over service in senior positions. Mitzna advocated immediate negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions, adding that if it cannot find a there is no one to talk to, Israel should seek "security separation" from the territories. He also attacked the funneling of funds to the settlements. Sharon, he said, "is leading Israel to disaster."
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