Israelis You Should Know: Benjamin Netanyahu
Born: October 21, 1949, in Tel Aviv
Current role: Prime Minister of Israel
Family: Wife Sara, and three children - Noa, Yair, and Avner
Why you should know him: Raised in Jerusalem until his family moved to the Pennsylvania area in the late 1950s and then again in the mid 1960s, Netanyahu returned to Israel when he graduated from high school so he could enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
During his time in the IDF he became the leader of an elite special forces unit, fought in the War of Attrition and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and was wounded by friendly fire during the rescue of a hijacked flight in 1972. After his military stint, Netanyahu returned to the States to attend MIT and Harvard.
In 1976, Netanyahu lost his brother in Operation Entebbe, and in 1978 he returned to Israel to work for an NGO studying terrorism. From 1984 to 1988 he served as the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. In 1988, Netanyahu was elected to the Knesset and was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He held various posts in the Knesset until he was elected prime minister in 1996. During his first term, he was known for fighting terror and advancing the peace process.
After a few years in the private sector, Netanyahu returned to politics in 2002, when he became Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Minister of Finance in 2003. In 2009 he was again elected Prime Minister, the post he still holds today.
Interesting Facts: He is a friend of Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship.
In his own words: "Our policy is very simple. The Jewish state was set up to defend Jewish lives, and we always reserve the right to defend ourselves."