Who is Netanyahu?
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (Hebrew: בנימין “ביבי” נתניהו (help·info); born 21 October 1949) is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He also currently serves as a member of the Knesset, Chairman of the Likud party and Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs.
Born in Tel Aviv to secular Jewish parents, Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the state. Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces during the Six-Day War in 1967 and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkalspecial forces unit. He took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope(1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder. He fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory. He was wounded in combat twice. He achieved the rank of captain before being discharged. Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, as a member of the Likud party, and was Prime Minister from June 1996 to July 1999. He moved from the political arena to the private sector after being defeated in the 1999 election for Prime Minister by Ehud Barak.
Netanyahu returned to politics in 2002 as Foreign Affairs Minister (2002–2003) and Finance Minister (2003–2005) in Ariel Sharon‘s governments, but he departed the government over disagreements regarding the Gaza disengagement plan. He retook the Likud leadership in December 2005, after Sharon left to form a new party, Kadima. In the 2006 election, Likud did poorly, winning 12 seats.In December 2006, Netanyahu became the official Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset and Chairman of Likud. In 2007, he retained the Likud leadership by beating Moshe Feiglin in party elections. Following the 2009 parliamentary election, in which Likud placed second and right-wing parties won a majority, Netanyahu formed a coalition government. After the victory in the 2013 elections, he became the second person to be elected to the position of Prime Minister for a third term, after Israel’s founder David Ben-Gurion.
In 2012, Netanyahu was listed 23rd on the Forbes magazine’s list of “The World’s Most Powerful People.” In 2014, he was ranked third on the list of the “Most Influential Jews in the World” by The Jerusalem Post. He had been ranked first on the list in 2012 and 2010.
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