Miri Regev
Miri Regev in 2020
Ministerial roles
2015–2020Minister of Culture and Sport
2020–2021Minister of Transportation
Faction represented in the Knesset
2009–Likud
Personal details
Born (1965-05-26) 26 May 1965 (age 56)
Kiryat Gat, Israel
Military career
Allegiance Israel
Service/branch Israeli Defense Forces
Years of service1983–2008
Rank
Tat aluf (Brigadier general)
UnitIsraeli Military Censor
IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Battles/wars
Second Lebanon War
AwardsOutstanding Presidential of Israel Award for Soldiers

Miriam "Miri" Regev (Hebrew: מִרְיָם "מִירִי" רֶגֶב; born Miriam Siboni on 26 May 1965) is an Israeli politician and a former Brigadier-general in the Israel Defense Forces, in which she served as IDF Spokeswoman. She is a member of the Knesset for Likud.[1] She also previously served as Minister of Culture and Sport and as Minister of Transportation. On 14 June 2017, she was appointed acting PM to serve while PM Netanyahu would be abroad.[2]

Early life

Regev was born in Kiryat Gat in 1965 to Sephardi Jewish immigrants. She went to Rogozin High School in Kiryat Gat. Her father, Felix, was from Morocco and her mother, Mercedes, was from Spain.[3] In 1983, she joined the Gadna, where she became a platoon commander, serving in the position until 1986. She earned a bachelor's degree in Informal Education and an MBA from Ono Academic College.

Public relations career

She began serving as the IDF Spokesperson's representative in the Israeli Southern Command. Regev was promoted to a Colonel rank for the position of Deputy IDF Spokesperson in 2002. In 2003, she was appointed coordinator of the national public relations efforts at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in preparation for the Iraq War. After a short stint (2004–2005) as the Chief Press and Media Censor, she was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and to the position of IDF Spokesperson in 2005.[4] She served in this position during Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and the 2006 Lebanon War.[5] In 2007, she was discharged and was succeeded by Avi Benayahu.

Political career

In November 2008, Regev joined the Likud party, saying that she had been a supporter of the party's platform for many years.[6] She won twenty-seventh place on the party's list for the 2009 elections, just high enough to enter the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. At the 2015 elections Regev was re-elected, after being placed fifth on Likud's national list.[7] She was subsequently appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Minister of Culture and Sport in the new government.

Revital Madar, a Tunisian-Israeli writer for Haaretz,[8] stated that Regev had faced discrimination due to her Moroccan origins, and her forthright behaviour is perceived as being stereotypically Mizrahi.[9]

Minister of Culture

Miri Regev (left) alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ayelet Shaked (center) and Naftali Bennett (right)
Miri Regev (left) alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ayelet Shaked (center) and Naftali Bennett (right)

In September 2015, four months in office, Regev announced a list of criteria that will cause the withdrawal of state funding the following year. The list included the deformation of state symbols and a call for boycotting Israel.[10]

In July 2016, Regev announced that she would not participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, because they take place on Shabbat.[11]

In her position as Minister of Culture, Regev frequently equates artistic Freedom of Expression with the power of the government to withdraw its funding, using the term "Freedom of Funding".[12][13] Regev also argued that state-funded artists or organisations must show "loyalty" to the Israeli state. She has called this a "Loyalty in Culture" initiative, and has proposed legislation making "support for a cultural institution dependent on its loyalty to the state of Israel".[14] She has said the group Breaking the Silence "hurts Israel's image" and accused a gallery that had hosted a talk by the group of "holding political activities".[15]

At the closing ceremony of the 2017 Maccabiah Games on 18 July 2017, Regev passed the Maccabiah torch to a number of Maccabiah athletes.[16][17]

In October 2018, she attended the Grand Slam Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[18] During that tournament, Regev was overwhelmed as the Hatikva was played in a Muslim Arab capital.[19]

Minister of Transportation and National infrastructure

In May 2020, Regev was offered the portfolio of Minister of Transportation for the first half of the 35th government of Israel and the portfolio of foreign minister during the second half of the incoming government's term.[20] She was sworn in to this position on 17 May 2020.[1]

Likud Leadership Bid

On August 14, 2021, Regev announced that she will run to succeed Netanyahu as leader of Likud. Stressing her Sephardi background, she stated "“The time has come to have a Sephardi prime minister, I think the Likud rank and file must vote this time for someone who represents their class, their ethnicity and their agenda." She also stated that she would not run against Netanyahu. She also made it clear that if she does not become leader of Likud, she may form a new party.[21]

Views

Illegal immigration

In May 2012, at a demonstration against illegal immigrants in Tel Aviv, Regev said that "Sudanese infiltrators are a cancer in the nation's body".[22][23][24][25] She later said that the quote was misrepresented, and, while justifying the comparison, apologized for seeming to compare human beings to cancer.[26]

LGBT rights

Regev met with LGBT community members of her party,[27] and said (in parallel to social activism), that "not only the left can support and embrace the gay community".[28]

Personal life

She is married to Dror Regev, an engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries and has three children. Her husband is from a left-wing background and holds some views opposing her own.[29][30][4][31]

References

  1. ^ a b "After year of deadlock and days of delays, Knesset swears in new Israeli government". Haaretz.com.
  2. ^ Wootliff, Raoul. "Miri Regev appointed acting PM while Netanyahu abroad". Times of Israel.
  3. ^ "Miri Regev's Culture War". New York Times. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Appointment of new IDF Spokesperson". dover.idf.il. 7 August 2007. Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  5. ^ "IDF Spokeswoman Miri Regev to leave army". Jerusalem Post. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  6. ^ Somfalvi, Attila (2 November 2008). "Benny Begin to run for Knesset". Ynetnews. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Likud list". Central Election Committee.
  8. ^ Georgi, Anat (14 May 2013). "The Israeli Melting Pot and Its Discontents". Haaretz.
  9. ^ "למה מירי רגב דוחה את ראש הממשלה ומשה כחלון לא?". Haaretz הארץ.
  10. ^ "The new criteria for budgeting cultural institutions". mako (in Hebrew). 2 September 2015.
  11. ^ "2016 Olympics: Israel's largest-ever delegation is ready for Rio". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 1 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Miri Regev threatens to pull gov't funds from Israel Festival over nudity". Ynetnews. 6 January 2017.
  13. ^ Baruch, Hezki (28 March 2017). "New Israeli show a slap in the face to bereaved families". Arutz Sheva.
  14. ^ Erlanger, Steven (29 January 2016). "Israel, Mired in Ideological Battles, Fights on Cultural Fronts". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Gallery refuses eviction after hosting Israeli veterans' group". The Art Newspaper. 15 March 2017.
  16. ^ "20th Maccabiah Games open with spectacular Jerusalem ceremony". The Jerusalem Post.
  17. ^ "Athletes make last medal pushes". The Jerusalem Post.
  18. ^ "Israel Culture Minister arrives in UAE". The Middle East Monitor. 26 October 2018.
  19. ^ "When Regev cried in Abu Dhabi and Netanyahu in Muscat". The Middle East Monitor. 30 October 2018.
  20. ^ staff, T. O. I. "Netanyahu said to offer Miri Regev Foreign Ministry when Gantz takes premiership". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  21. ^ Hoffman, Gil. "Miri Regev announces run for prime minister: Stop voting for 'white people'". Jpost. Jerusalem Post.
  22. ^ "Israeli MP Miri Regev Says African Migrants Are 'A Cancer In Our Body' At Tel Aviv Protest". The Huffington Post. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  23. ^ Schechter, Asher (21 December 2012). "How Likud MK Miri Regev Talked Her Way to the Top". Haaretz. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  24. ^ Schechter, Asher (27 June 2015). "How the Right-wing Already Won Israel's Culture War". Haaretz. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  25. ^ Nesher, Talila (24 May 2012). "Demonstrators attack African migrants in south Tel Aviv Israel News". Haaretz. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  26. ^ Hoffman, Gil (27 May 2012). "Miri Regev apologizes for calling migrants 'cancer'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  27. ^ Regev is a source of pride? ynet.co.il, Evan Cohen, Dror Mizrachi Posted: 12/24/12
  28. ^ Mualem, Mazal (20 June 2013). "Likud's Miri Regev Challenges Netanyahu's Grip on the Party". Al-Monitor.
  29. ^ "Knesset Members: Miri Regev". knesset.gov.il.
  30. ^ "Miri Regev, MK". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  31. ^ "Minister Regev: "I also shout at my husband that he is a leftist"". mako. 21 November 2016.