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Biography

Politics & War

Politics & War

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

 

EARLY LIFE

 

  • Netanyahu was born in 1949 in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Tzila Segal and a Warsaw-born father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu (1910–2012).
  • He was the second of three children. He 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. Benjamin attended and graduated from Cheltenham High School.
  • After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces.
THE RISING

 

  • After completing his army service in 1972, Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • He returned to Israel in October 1973 to serve in the Yom Kippur War in the Sayeret Matkal commando unit.
  • He then returned to the United States and under the name Ben Nitay, completed an bachelor’s degree in architecture in February 1975 and earned a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in June 1976.
  • In 1976, Netanyahu’s older brother Yonatan Netanyahu was killed.
  • In 1976, Netanyahu graduated near the top of his class at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and was headhunted to be an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Boston, Massachusetts, working at the company between 1976 and 1978.
BACK TO ISRAEL – POLITICS

 

  • In 1978, Netanyahu returned to Israel. Between 1978 and 1980, he ran the Jonathan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute,a non-governmental organization devoted to the study of terrorism.
  • Between 1984 and 1988, Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
  • Prior to the 1988 Israeli legislative election, Netanyahu returned to Israel and joined the Likud party. Later on he was elected as a Knesset member of the 12th Knesset, and was appointed as a deputy of the foreign minister.
  • Shamir retired from politics shortly after the Likud’s defeat in the 1992 elections.
POLITICS

 

  • Netanyahu was the Likud’s candidate for Prime Minister in the 1996 Israeli legislative election which took place on 26 May 1996 and were the first Israeli elections in which Israelis elected their Prime Minister directly. ‘
  • However, although Netanyahu won the election for Prime Minister, Peres’s Israeli Labor Party received more seats in the Knesset elections.
  • Netanyahu had to rely on a coalition with the ultraOrthodox parties, Shas and UTJ in order to form a government.
PRIME MINISTER

 

  • In 1997, 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.
  • Throughout his term, Netanyahu was opposed by the political left wing in Israel and lost support from the right because of his concessions to the Palestinians.
  • Netanyahu lost favor with the Israeli public after a long chain of scandals involving his marriage and corruption charges.
  • After being defeated by Ehud Barak in the 1999 election for Prime Minister, Netanyahu temporarily retired from politics. He subsequently served as a senior consultant with Israeli communications equipment manufacturer BATM Advanced Communications for two years.
FINANCE MINISTER

 

  • With the fall of the Barak government in late 2000, Netanyahu expressed his desire to return to politics.
  • In 2002, after the Israeli Labor Party left the coalition and vacated the position of foreign minister, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Netanyahu as Foreign Minister. Netanyahu challenged Sharon for the leadership of the Likud party, but failed to oust Sharon.
  • After the 2003 Israeli legislative election, in what many observers regarded as a surprise move, Sharon offered the Foreign Ministry to Silvan Shalom and offered Netanyahu the Finance Ministry. etanyahu accepted the new appointment.
PRIME MINISTER

 

  • On 14 August 2007, Netanyahu was reelected as chairman of the Likud and its candidate for the post of Prime Minister.
  • Netanyahu was the Likud’s candidate for Prime Minister in the 2009 Israeli legislative election which took place on 10 February 2009.
  • In the election itself, Likud won the second highest number of seats, Livni’s party having outnumbered the Likud by one seat.
  • Netanyahu, however, claimed victory on the basis that rightwing parties won the majority of the vote, and on 20 February 2009, Netanyahu was designated by Israeli President Shimon Peres to succeed Ehud Olmert as prime minister, and began his negotiations to form a coalition government.
  • The 32nd Government was approved that day by a majority of 69 lawmakers to 45 (with five abstaining) and the members were sworn in.
  • The 2013 election returned Netanyahu’s Likud Beiteinu coalition with 11 fewer seats than the combined Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties had going into the vote.
  • In the 2015 election, Netanyahu returned with his party Likud leading the elections with 30 mandates, making it the single highest number of seats for the Knesset.
  • Prior to the April 2019 Israeli legislative election, Netanyahu helped broker a deal that united the Jewish Home party with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, in order to form the Union of the Right-Wing Parties.
CHARGES

 

  • On 28 February 2019, the Israeli attorney general announced his intent to file indictments against Netanyahu on bribe and fraud charges in three different cases.
  • Netanyahu was formally indicted on 21 November 2019. If Netanyahu is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison for bribery and a maximum of three years for fraud and breach of trust. He is the first sitting prime minister in Israel’s history to be charged with a crime.
  • He was officially charged on 28 January 2020.Netanyahu’s criminal trial is set to begin on 24 May 2020, having been initially scheduled for March of that year but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.