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Ran Cohen ( , born 20 June 1937) is an Israelimarker politician and former Knessetmarker member for Meretz-Yachad. He is a resident of Mevaseret Zionmarker and married with four children.

Born in Baghdadmarker, Iraqmarker, Cohen was 13 years old when he immigrated to Israelmarker through Iranmarker. He grew in kibbutz Gan Shmuelmarker, where he absorbed Socialist and Zionist ideologies. During his military service he rose to the rank of Colonel (Aluf Mishne). After the military he obtained a B.A. in philosophy and Economics at Tel Aviv Universitymarker.

Political career

In 1984 he was first elected to the Knessetmarker as a member of Ratz (headed by Shulamit Aloni) after he headed the Left Camp of Israel peace movement.

Since 1992, he has been a member of Meretz, a dovish left wing party which resulted from the merger of Mapam, Ratz and Shinui. He was Minister of Industry and Trade in Ehud Barak's government. He headed several Knesset committees, including the Security and Foreign Affairs committee.

Cohen is most identified with "Law of Public Housing", which allowed residents of houses supplied by the state to assume ownership on the house. He also managed to pass a law regulating minimum wages.

Cohen's political focus is on social-economic issues rather than foreign affairs and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

After Meretz merged with Yossi Beilin's Shachar movement and renamed itself Yachad in 2004, Ran Cohen ran for the chairmainship of the new party, but lost to Beilin. Supporters of Ran Cohen blamed his defeat on anti-Mizrahi racism within the party and pointed out that he was the only non-Ashkenazi to reach a senior position within it.

On 1 November, 2008, following Beilin's resignation, he announced his intention to retire from political life and not to seek a spot on the party's roster ahead of the upcoming general elections. He said "I want to start chapter three of my life, to do things for my soul: writing, lecturing, taking part in social and public initiatives that interest me".


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