Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Arens

By Adam Moses

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has led tributes esteemed Israeli politician Moshe (Arens, who died aged 93 on Monday.

Arens, also called Misha, founded the Herut Party and was a loyal member of Likud.

Minister of Defence office on three occasions, he served as Foreign Minister and was Ambassador to Washington when appointing Netanyahu his deputy, beginning a lifelong friendship.

The Israeli leader offered heartfelt recollections.

“My teacher and mentor, was an outstanding student of Ze’ev Jabotinsky,” recalled Netanyahu in a statement.

“I watched Misha do amazing things to build up the standing of the State of Israel time and again, as Ambassador in Washington, Foreign Minister, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, and Defence Minister.

“In recent years, he dedicated himself to endlessly watching over the documentation of the full story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in which Betar members had a central role.”

Netanyahu added, “There was no greater patriot. Moshe Arens’ great contribution to our people and our state will be remembered forever.”

President Reuven Rivlin commented, “Misha was one of the most important leaders of the Herut movement. A man of honour who never flinched from the fight.

“One of the most important Ministers of Defence 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.

“Misha worked his whole life in key positions to ensure Israel’s development and success, as a member of the Etzel, as a scientist and engineer, as a statesman, as an ambassador and as a manager of the most important industries for Israel’s security.”

Rivlin added, “His important contributions to correcting the historical record regarding the role of the Jewish Military Union in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising will also never be forgotten.

“Misha was a man of bravery, determination and unbounded love for our country. With the honour and nobility of a Betari, his internal compass and Zionist vision showed him the way in everything he did.”

Born in Lithuania in 1925, Arens served in the US Army Corps of Engineers during World War Two before immigrating to Israel after the War of Independence in 1948.

Joining the Irgun, he worked with Jewish communities abroad, returning to become a founding member of the Herut Party.

Completing engineering degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology, Arens settled in Israel, working as a Professor of Aeronautics at Haifa’s Technion University and at Israel Aircraft Industries before entering politics following the Yom Kippur War.

Arens served Likud in the Knesset in 1974, retiring in 1999.

A columnist for Haaretz newspaper, he won numerous awards in Israel and overseas.

Arens is survived by Muriel Eisenberg, four children and grandchildren.