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. 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.
|2015–2020||Minister of Culture and Sport|
|2020–2021||Minister of Transportation|
|Faction represented in the Knesset|
|Born||26 May 1965|
Kiryat Gat, Israel
|Service/||Israeli Defense Forces|
|Years of service||1983–2008|
|Rank||Tat aluf (Brigadier general)|
|Unit||Israeli Military Censor|
IDF Spokesperson's Unit
|Battles/wars||Second Lebanon War|
|Awards||Outstanding Presidential of Israel Award for Soldiers|
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. 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.
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. She served in this position during Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and the 2006 Lebanon War. In 2007, she was discharged and was succeeded by Avi Benayahu.
In November 2008, Regev joined the Likud party, saying that she had been a supporter of the party's platform for many years. 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. 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, stated that Regev had faced discrimination due to her Moroccan origins, and her forthright behaviour is perceived as being stereotypically Mizrahi.
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.
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". 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". 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".
In October 2018, she attended the Grand Slam Judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. During that tournament, Regev was overwhelmed as the Hatikva was played in a Muslim Arab capital.
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. She was sworn in to this position on 17 May 2020.
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.
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". She later said that the quote was misrepresented, and, while justifying the comparison, apologized for seeming to compare human beings to cancer.
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