March 24, 1993
Ezer Weizman was born in 1924 in Tel Aviv. The nephew of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, Ezer became an accomplished pilot, joined the Haganah in 1947 and became one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force. In 1958, he was appointed Commander of the Israeli Air Force before becoming Deputy Chief of Staff under Yitzhak Rabin in 1966.
After his retirement from the IDF in 1969, Weizman joined the Likud Party and was instrumental in the Party’s 1977 election victory, becoming Defense Minister in Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s government.
Along with Moshe Dayan, he was part of Israel’s delegation at the 1978 Camp David negotiations, developing a warm friendship with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. In May 1980, he resigned from the Cabinet over Likud Party resistance to achieve peace with the Palestinians, eventually starting his own left of center party. He spent the remainder of his career advocating for peace and assisting the Arab-Israeli sector.
He was elected President on March 24, 1993, by the Knesset on the second ballot in a narrow vote of 66 to 53. After being elected, Weizman remarked, “I hope that I will be able, via the efficient work of this government to take part in the development of the peace process of the Middle East.” He would serve as President until resigning in July 2000. He passed away in 2005.
The photo below shows President Ezer Weizman meeting with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in 1994.