Matan Kahana


Matan Kahana (Hebrew: מַתָּן כַּהֲנָא, born 29 July 1972) is an Israeli politician who serves as Minister of Religious Services. He previously served as a member of Knesset for New Right and Yamina. He was an officer in the IDF with the rank of colonel, who served as a fighter in Sayeret Matkal, and as a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force. He was a commander of a squadron of F-16s.[1] After retiring from the army, he joined the New Right party, which is part of the Yamina alliance.

Matan Kahana
MatanK-DSC 0053a.jpg
Ministerial roles
2021–Minister of Religious Services
Faction represented in the Knesset
2019–2020New Right
Personal details
Born (1972-07-29) 29 July 1972 (age 49)
Haifa, Israel


Kahana was born in Haifa.[2]

When he was three months old, he moved with his family to New York, USA, following his father's electrical engineering and business administration studies. When he was three, the family returned to live in Moshav Beit Gamliel. Kahana attended elementary school at Kibbutz Hafetz Haim (grades 1-8), and then at the Netiv Meir Yeshiva.[3] In his youth, he was a counselor in the Bnei Akiva movement, in the branch in Moshav Beit Gamliel.

He graduated with a BA in Law at Bar-Ilan University.[2]

Kahana is married to Lisa, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, and is the father of four children. He lives in the religious moshav Beit Gamliel.[4][5]

Military careerEdit

Kahana delivers speeches in memory of Emmanuel Moreno, Mount Herzl, August 2017

Kahana was drafted into the flying course, but signed a waiver to serve in Sayeret Matkal. He served as a fighter for three and a half years.[5] In January 1994, when he finished his mandatory service, he joined a fighter pilot course, and served as a fighter pilot in 116 Squadron.[6]

Throughout his service, he participated as a pilot in Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and the 2014 Gaza War. He also participated as an F-16 pilot in the Second Lebanon War.[7][3]

Upon completion of his position as commander of the Valley Squadron, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and appointed the head of the division at the Air Force headquarters. In August 2018, he was released from the IDF.

Political careerEdit

After his release from the IDF in 2018,[6][3] Kahana served as director of the Diaspora Initiative at the Center for Educational Technology.

On 10 January 2019, he announced that he was joining the New Right party, led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked.[8] He placed fourth on the Knesset party list for the April 2019 Knesset elections, but was not elected to the Knesset after his party narrowly failed to pass the election threshold.[9]

Ahead of the September 2019 elections, he was listed seventh on the Yamina joint party list (on behalf of the New Right). The list won seven seats, and he was elected to the 22nd Knesset.[10]

In May 2022, he resigned his post as Religious Services Minister and stated he would return to the Knesset to serve as a Yamina MK, replacing MK Yomtob Kalfon. The move was meant to “help strengthen the coalition.”[11][12]


  1. ^ "השתלטות אסד על הגבול מציבה לישראל דילמה מוסרית".
  2. ^ a b "Knesset Members Matan Kahana". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Matan Kahana wants to fix Israel's divisions over religion, state". The Jerusalem Post. 2021-06-14. Retrieved 2022-05-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "סגן רמטכ"ל, טייס קרב וסגנית מיס אירופה: הח"כים החדשים". ynet (in Hebrew). 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  5. ^ a b Schneider, Tal; Horovitz, David. "The Orthodox revolutionary: How Matan Kahana aims to revive Israel's Jewish identity". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  6. ^ a b "אל"מ מתן משתחרר: לא מפחד מטוקבקיסטים ולא מהחברים בבית הכנסת". ynet (in Hebrew). 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  7. ^ ""אני איש ימין ואני מאמין בטוהר הנשק"". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  8. ^ Bollag, Uri (2019-01-11). "New Right unveils former IDF combat pilot as next candidate on party list". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2022-05-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Naftali Bennett: Yamina will stay united". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  10. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (2019-09-19). "21st Knesset, we hardly knew ye. Meet the (almost identical) 22nd". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  11. ^ Keller-Lynn, Carrie. "Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana resigns post, will remain Yamina MK". Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  12. ^ "Bennett ally Matan Kahana quits ministry, rejoins Knesset as MK". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2022-05-13.

External linksEdit

  • Matan Kahana on the Knesset website