Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is an Israeli politician who has been serving as the prime minister of Israel since December 2022, having previously held the office from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009 to 2021.
174 Facts About Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu is the first prime minister to be born in Israel after its Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel in 1967 to join the Israel Defense Forces.
Benjamin Netanyahu became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces and took part in several missions, achieving the rank of captain before being honorably discharged.
Benjamin Netanyahu moved back to Israel in 1978 to found the Yonatan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute.
From 1984 to 1988, Benjamin Netanyahu was Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.
Benjamin Netanyahu rose to prominence after being elected as the chairman of Likud in 1993, becoming Leader of the Opposition.
Benjamin Netanyahu later returned to politics, and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance under Ariel Sharon.
Benjamin Netanyahu returned to the leadership of Likud in December 2005 after Sharon stepped down to form a new party, Kadima.
Benjamin Netanyahu was the Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2009.
Benjamin Netanyahu went on to lead Likud to victory in the 2013 and 2015 elections.
In June 2021, after Naftali Bennett formed a government with Yair Lapid, Benjamin Netanyahu was removed from the premiership, becoming opposition leader for the third time, before returning as Prime Minister again after the 2022 election.
Benjamin Netanyahu made his closeness to Donald Trump, a personal friend since the 1980s, central to his political appeal in Israel from 2016.
Benjamin Netanyahu has faced international criticism over his decades-long policy as prime minister of expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, deemed illegal under international law.
In 2019, Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on charges of breach of trust, bribery and fraud, following a three year investigation, due to which he relinquished all his ministry posts other than the prime minister position.
Benjamin Netanyahu's mother, Tzila Segal, was born in Petah Tikva in the Ottoman Empire's Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, and his father, Warsaw-born Benzion Netanyahu, was a historian specializing in the Jewish Golden age of Spain.
Benjamin Netanyahu's paternal grandfather, Nathan Mileikowsky, was a rabbi and Zionist writer.
Benjamin Netanyahu was initially raised and educated in Jerusalem, where he attended Henrietta Szold Elementary School.
Between 1956 and 1958, and again from 1963 to 1967, his family lived in the United States in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, while father Benzion Benjamin Netanyahu taught at Dropsie College.
Benjamin Netanyahu attended and graduated from Cheltenham High School and was active in the debate club, chess club, and soccer.
Benjamin Netanyahu trained as a combat soldier and served for five years in a special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal.
Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in many other missions, including the 1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon and the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972, in which he was shot in the shoulder.
Benjamin Netanyahu was discharged from active service in 1972 but remained in the Sayeret Matkal reserves.
Benjamin Netanyahu took part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal against Egyptian forces before leading a commando attack deep inside Syrian territory, the details of which remain classified today.
Benjamin Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At MIT, Benjamin Netanyahu studied a double-load, completing a master's degree in only two and a half years, despite taking a break to fight in the Yom Kippur War.
Benjamin Netanyahu knew what he wanted to do and how to get it done.
Years later, in an interview with the media, Benjamin Netanyahu clarified that he decided to do so to make it easier for Americans to pronounce his name.
In 1976, Benjamin Netanyahu graduated near the top of his class at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Benjamin Netanyahu was headhunted to be an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Boston, Massachusetts, working at the company between 1976 and 1978.
Benjamin Netanyahu presented Israel's case to the media during the war and established a highly efficient public relations system in the Israeli embassy.
Between 1984 and 1988, Benjamin Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Schneerson as "the most influential man of our time".
Benjamin Netanyahu was the Likud's candidate for prime minister in the 1996 Israeli legislative election which took place on 29 May 1996 and were the first Israeli elections in which Israelis elected their prime minister directly.
Benjamin Netanyahu hired American Republican political operative Arthur Finkelstein to run his campaign, and although the American style of sound bites and sharp attacks elicited harsh criticism, Benjamin Netanyahu won the 1996 election, becoming the youngest person in the history of the position and the first Israeli prime minister to be born in the State of Israel.
However, although Benjamin Netanyahu won the election for prime minister, Peres's Israeli Labor Party received more seats in the Knesset elections.
Benjamin Netanyahu had to rely on a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and UTJ in order to form a government.
Benjamin Netanyahu said that these concessions only gave encouragement to extremist elements, without receiving any tangible gestures in return.
Benjamin Netanyahu called for tangible gestures of Palestinian goodwill in return for Israeli concessions.
Benjamin Netanyahu first met Palestinian President Arafat on 4 September 1996.
In 1997, Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a Mossad operation to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Jordan, just 3 years after the two countries had signed a peace treaty.
Benjamin Netanyahu relented to the demands after pressure by US President Bill Clinton and ordered the release of 61 Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners including Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.
Benjamin Netanyahu greatly eased Israel's strict foreign exchange controls, enabling Israelis to take an unrestricted amount of money out of the country, open foreign bank accounts, hold foreign currency, and invest freely in other countries.
Benjamin Netanyahu lost favor with the Israeli public after a long chain of scandals involving his marriage and corruption charges.
In 1997, police recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges for influence-peddling.
Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of appointing an attorney general who would reduce the charges but prosecutors ruled that there was insufficient evidence to go to trial.
In 1999, Benjamin Netanyahu faced another scandal when the Israel Police recommended that he be tried for corruption for $100,000 in free services from a government contractor; Israel's attorney general did not prosecute, citing difficulties with evidence.
Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently served as a senior consultant with Israeli communications equipment manufacturer BATM Advanced Communications for two years.
Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that general elections should be held, claiming that otherwise it would be impossible to have a stable government.
Benjamin Netanyahu decided eventually not to run for the prime minister position, a move which facilitated the surprising rise to power of Ariel Sharon, who at the time was considered less popular than Benjamin Netanyahu.
Benjamin Netanyahu challenged Sharon for the leadership of the Likud party in the 2002 Likud leadership election, but failed to oust him.
Benjamin Netanyahu was not present at the protest, having remained at his hotel throughout the duration.
Benjamin Netanyahu later accused the activists of supporting terrorism and "mad zealotry".
Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that a bloated public sector and excessive regulations were largely responsible for stifling economic growth.
Benjamin Netanyahu's plan involved a move toward more liberalized markets, although it was not without its critics.
Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to resign from office in 2004 unless the Gaza pullout plan was put to a referendum.
Benjamin Netanyahu later modified the ultimatum and voted for the program in the Knesset, indicating immediately thereafter that he would resign unless a referendum was held within 14 days.
Benjamin Netanyahu submitted his resignation letter on 7 August 2005, shortly before the Israeli cabinet voted 17 to 5 to approve the initial phase of withdrawal from Gaza.
Benjamin Netanyahu was the Likud's candidate for prime minister in the 2009 Israeli legislative election which took place on 10 February 2009, as Livni, the previous designated acting prime minister under the Olmert government, had been unable to form a viable governing coalition.
Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory on the basis that right-wing parties won the majority of the vote, and on 20 February 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu was designated by Israeli President Shimon Peres to succeed Ehud Olmert as prime minister, and began his negotiations to form a coalition government.
Benjamin Netanyahu did manage to entice a smaller rival, the Labour party, chaired by Ehud Barak, to join his government, giving him a certain amount of centrist tone.
Benjamin Netanyahu presented his cabinet for a Knesset "Vote of Confidence" on 31 March 2009.
Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he would accept a Palestinian state if Jerusalem were to remain the united capital of Israel, the Palestinians would have no army, and the Palestinians would give up their demand for a right of return.
Benjamin Netanyahu argued the right for a "natural growth" in the existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank while their permanent status is up to further negotiation.
Three months after starting his term, Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that his cabinet already had achieved several notable successes, such as the establishment of a working national unity government, and a broad consensus for a "two-state solution".
Benjamin Netanyahu has lifted checkpoints in the West Bank in order to allow freedom of movement and a flow of imports; a step that resulted in an economic boost in the West Bank.
In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Arab Peace initiative and lauded a call by Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to normalize relations with Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to be in a pivotal moment over these understandings, that were reported to include a compromise over permission on continuing the already approved construction in the West Bank in exchange for freezing all settlements thereafter, as well as continuing building in East Jerusalem, and at the same time stopping the demolition of houses of Arab inhabitants there.
On 4 September 2009, it was reported that Benjamin Netanyahu was to agree to settlers' political demands to approve more settlement constructions before a temporary settlement freeze agreement took place.
On 7 September 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu left his office without reporting where he was headed.
Meir Kalifi, later reported Benjamin Netanyahu had visited a security facility in Israel.
On 24 September 2009, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran poses a threat to the peace of the world and that it is incumbent on the world body to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently issued a statement that all previous Israeli governments had continuously permitted construction in the neighborhood, and that certain neighborhoods such as Ramat Shlomo and Gilo have always been included as part of Israel in any final agreement plan that has been proposed by either side to date.
In September 2010, Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to enter direct talks, mediated by the Obama administration, with the Palestinians for the first time in a long while.
On retiring from office in July 2011, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had said that Benjamin Netanyahu was ungrateful to the United States and endangering Israel.
Responding, the Likud party defended Benjamin Netanyahu by saying that most Israelis supported the Prime Minister and that he had broad support in the United States.
Benjamin Netanyahu unsuccessfully called for the early release of Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a life sentence for passing secret US documents to Israel in 1987.
Benjamin Netanyahu has raised the issue at the Wye River Summit in 1998, where he claimed that US President Bill Clinton had privately agreed to release Pollard.
In 2002, Benjamin Netanyahu visited Pollard at his North Carolina prison.
Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet approved a plan to build a fiber-optic cable network across the country to bring cheap, high-speed fiber-optic Internet access to every home.
In 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu initially planned to call early elections, but subsequently oversaw the creation of a controversial government of national unity to see Israel through until the national elections of 2013.
In May 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu officially recognized for the first time the right for Palestinians to have their own state in an official document, a letter to Mahmoud Abbas, though as before he declared it would have to be demilitarized.
Benjamin Netanyahu had formed the Concentration Committee in 2010, and the bill, which was pushed forward by his government, implemented its recommendations.
Benjamin Netanyahu began a campaign of port privatization to break what he viewed as the monopoly held by workers of the Israel Port Authority, so as to lower consumer prices and increase exports.
Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to curb excess bureaucracy and regulations to ease the burden on industry.
Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, and launched a massive search and arrest operation on the West Bank, targeting members of Hamas in particular, and over the following weeks hit 60 targets in Gaza.
In October 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu's government approved a privatization plan to reduce corruption and politicization in government companies, and strengthen Israel's capital market.
That same month, Benjamin Netanyahu called criticism of settlements "against the American values", a remark that earned him a sharp rebuke from the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who noted that American values had resulted in Israel receiving not only consistent funding but protective technology such as Iron Dome.
Benjamin Netanyahu explained that he does not accept restrictions on where Jews could live, and said that Jerusalem's Arabs and Jews should be able to buy homes wherever they want.
Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "baffled" by the American condemnation.
On 2 December 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu fired two of his ministers, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who heads the centrist Yesh Atid party and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads Hatnua.
In January 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address the US Congress.
Seven American Jewish lawmakers met with Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the US and recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu instead meet with lawmakers privately to discuss Iran.
In making the speech, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to speak for all Jews worldwide, a claim disputed by others in the Jewish community.
Benjamin Netanyahu said that support of a Palestinian state is tantamount to yielding territory for radical Islamic terrorists to attack Israel.
On 28 May 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would be running for an unprecedented fifth term as prime minister in the next general election and that he supports Likud's current process of picking MK candidates.
In October 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu drew widespread criticism for claiming that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, gave Adolf Hitler the idea for the Holocaust in the preceding months to the Second World War, convincing the Nazi leader to exterminate Jews rather than just expel them from Europe.
In March 2016, Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition faced a potential crisis as ultra-Orthodox members threatened to withdraw over the government's proposed steps to create non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall.
Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized both the UN Resolution and Kerry's speech in response.
On 22 February 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu became the first serving prime minister of Israel to visit Australia.
Benjamin Netanyahu recalled that it was the Australian Light Horse regiments that liberated Beersheba during World War I, and this began what has been a relationship of 100 years between the countries.
On 12 October 2017, shortly after the United States announced the same action, Benjamin Netanyahu's government announced it was leaving UNESCO due to what it saw as anti-Israel actions by the agency, and it made that decision official in December 2017.
On 30 April 2018, Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of not holding up its end of the Iran nuclear deal after presenting a cache of over 100,000 documents detailing the extent of Iran's nuclear program.
Analysts saw the bill as a sign of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition advancing a right-wing agenda.
Since January 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu has been investigated and questioned by Israeli police in two cases, "Case 1000" and "Case 2000".
In Case 1000, Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of having obtained inappropriate favors from businessmen, including James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
On 3 August 2017, Israeli police confirmed for the first time that Benjamin Netanyahu was suspected of crimes involving fraud, breach of trust, and bribes in cases "1000" and "2000".
On 13 February 2018, Israeli police recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with corruption.
Benjamin Netanyahu responded that the allegations were baseless and that he would continue as prime minister.
Benjamin Netanyahu is the first sitting prime minister in Israel's history to be charged with a crime.
On 17 May 2020, Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in for a fifth term as prime minister in a coalition with Benny Gantz.
On 13 June 2021, Bennett and Lapid formed a coalition government, and Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted as prime minister, ending his 12-year tenure.
Benjamin Netanyahu led the opposition into the 2022 Israeli legislative election.
Benjamin Netanyahu officially started his sixth term on 29 December 2022.
Benjamin Netanyahu was removed from his post by Netanyahu the following day, sparking further mass protests across Israel and ultimately leading to Netanyahu agreeing to delay the legislation for a month, until the next Knesset session after Passover.
Benjamin Netanyahu has been described as "the advocate of the free-market".
Benjamin Netanyahu introduced a welfare to work program, he led a program of privatization, reduced the size of the public sector, reformed and streamlined the taxation system and passed laws against monopolies and cartels with the aim of increasing competition.
Benjamin Netanyahu extended capital gains taxes from companies to individuals, which allowed him to enlarge the tax base while reducing taxes on incomes.
Benjamin Netanyahu defines capitalism as "the ability to have individual initiative and competition to produce goods and services with profit, but not to shut out somebody else from trying to do the same".
Benjamin Netanyahu has said his own "hard line against all terrorists" came as a result of his brother's death.
Yoni Benjamin Netanyahu had been killed while leading the hostage-rescue mission at Operation Entebbe.
In 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu called for the death penalty to be imposed on the perpetrator of the 2017 Halamish stabbing attack.
Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Amin al-Husseini had been one of the masterminds of the Holocaust, and that Yasser Arafat was heir to the former's "alleged exterminationist Nazism".
Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Should we achieve a turn toward peace with the more moderate partners, we will insist on the recognition of the State of Israel and the demilitarization of the future Palestinian state".
Benjamin Netanyahu had previously called US-backed peace talks a waste of time, while at the same time refusing to commit to the same two-state solution as had other Israeli leaders, until a speech in June 2009.
Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly made public statements which advocated an "economic peace" approach, meaning an approach based on economic cooperation and joint effort rather than continuous contention over political and diplomatic issues.
Benjamin Netanyahu raised these ideas during discussions with former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Benjamin Netanyahu continued to advocate these ideas as the Israeli elections approached.
In January 2009, prior to the February 2009 Israeli elections Benjamin Netanyahu informed Middle East envoy Tony Blair that he would continue the policy of the Israeli governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert by expanding settlements in the West Bank, in contravention of the Road Map, but not building new ones.
In 2013, Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports that his government would agree to peace talks on the basis of the green line.
In 2014, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat criticized Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him "ideologically corrupt" and a war criminal.
In January 2020, Benjamin Netanyahu publicly supported Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Former United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that on 22 May 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu showed Donald Trump a fake and altered video of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calling for the killing of children.
Benjamin Netanyahu had showed Trump the fake video to change his position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed for the first time the notion of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the Jewish national state with an undivided Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed that he accepted the Road Map proposal.
Benjamin Netanyahu did not discuss whether or not the settlements should be part of Israel after peace negotiations, simply stating that the "question will be discussed".
Some right-wing members of Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition criticized his remarks for the creation of a Palestinian State, believing that all of the land should come under Israeli sovereignty.
Likud MK Danny Danon said that Benjamin Netanyahu went "against the Likud platform", while MK Uri Orbach of Habayit Hayehudi said that it had "dangerous implications".
On 9 August 2009, speaking at the opening of a government meeting, Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his claims from the Palestinians: "We want an agreement with two factors, the first of which is the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and a security settlement".
Senior official Saeb Erekat said, "Benjamin Netanyahu's speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations".
Benjamin Netanyahu added that "whether what he mentioned can be defined as a state is a subject of some debate".
Immediately after the 2012 Burgas bus bombing, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the attack had been undertaken in coordination with Iran.
Benjamin Netanyahu praised the air strike, saying that Trump had acted "swiftly, forcefully and decisively".
In 2013, Benjamin Netanyahu found himself caught between conflicting commitments made to the family of American terror victim Daniel Wultz and the Government of China.
In 2011, Benjamin Netanyahu arranged for 1000 Hamas and Fatah prisoners to be swapped for Gilad Shalit, including terrorists with "blood on their hands".
However Benjamin Netanyahu decided to cut social programs instead, and promised to increase the defense budget by about six percent.
In 2012 the Benjamin Netanyahu government passed the "Prevention of Infiltration Law", which mandated automatic detention of all people, including asylum-seekers, who enter Israel without permission.
Benjamin Netanyahu is critical of what he sees as the overly open immigration policy of EU nations.
Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to illegal immigration.
Benjamin Netanyahu's mother was born in 1912 in Petah Tikva, then in Ottoman Palestine, now Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu is related to Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna on his paternal side.
Benjamin Netanyahu's father, Benzion, was a professor of Jewish history at Cornell University, editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica, and a senior aide to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, who remained active in research and writing into his nineties.
Benjamin Netanyahu's younger brother, Iddo, is a radiologist and writer.
In 1972, they both left to study in the United States, where she enrolled in Brandeis University, while Benjamin Netanyahu studied at MIT.
In 1978, while Weizmann was pregnant, Benjamin Netanyahu met a non-Jewish British student named Fleur Cates at the university library, and began an affair.
Benjamin Netanyahu's marriage ended in divorce soon afterward, when his wife Miriam discovered the affair.
In 1981, Benjamin Netanyahu married Cates, and she converted to Judaism.
Benjamin Netanyahu was in the process of completing a master's degree in psychology.
In 1993, Benjamin Netanyahu confessed on live television to having had an affair with Ruth Bar, his public relations adviser.
On 1 October 2009, his daughter Noa Benjamin Netanyahu-Roth gave birth to a boy, Shmuel.
Benjamin Netanyahu has a close relationship with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, their having known each other for decades due to the privileged relationship between the Likud Party and the EPP, the European People's Party.
Benjamin Netanyahu has been noted for his close and friendly relationship with then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Benjamin Netanyahu has a warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, touting their "personal friendship" in April 2019.
Benjamin Netanyahu had been a friend of Donald Trump's father, Fred, when Benjamin Netanyahu lived in New York during the 1980s, serving as UN ambassador.
In June 2019, Benjamin Netanyahu officially renamed a settlement in the disputed Golan Heights after Donald Trump.
However, Trump aide Jared Kushner has claimed that in January 2020, Trump became frustrated with Benjamin Netanyahu's rhetoric regarding annexation of the Jordan Valley, and considered endorsing his political opponent, Benny Gantz.
Benjamin Netanyahu has close ties with the congressional leadership of the US Republican Party and with its 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
In March 2010, Benjamin Netanyahu remarked during a joint statement with Biden during his visit of Israel that their friendship had started almost three decades prior.
Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify that "such statements are disgraceful, unacceptable and damaging" and "do not reflect the position of the United States".
Benjamin Netanyahu called his Polish counterpart's comment "outrageous" for saying that Jews had been among the Holocaust's perpetrators.
Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a close relationship with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro following Bolsonaro's election in 2018.
In March 2019, after being denounced by Turkey as a racist for saying that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only, Benjamin Netanyahu called Erdogan a dictator and mocked him for imprisoning journalists in a tweet.