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Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of Israel

Born: 21 October 1949
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel
Best known as:

Prime Minister of Israel 1996-99, 2009-present

Benjamin Netanyahu has twice been prime minister of Israel and is the leader of that nation's Likud Party. Born in Tel Aviv the year after Israel had gained independence, Benjamin Netanyahu studied for a few years in the United States before returning to Israel in 1967 for military service. His career in the U.S. and Israel shifted from business to politics, and he worked in the U.S. at the Israeli embassy and then as a representative at the United Nations. He was elected to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in 1988, and during the Gulf War of the early 1990s he strengthened his political position and emerged as a candidate for prime minister. His party won the 1996 elections and Netanyahu became PM, but he was then defeated in the elections of 1999 and succeeded by Ehud Barak. Netanyahu served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002-03) and Minister of Finance (2003-05) under Ariel Sharon, but left Sharon's government over policy differences. Netanyahu gained leadership of the Likud Party in 2005, and in 2009 he was the party's successful candidate for prime minister against acting prime minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima Party. Although the election on 10 February 2009 gave Kadima more seats in the Knesset, Likud's showing at the polls put Netanyahu in position to form a new government as prime minister. He called for fresh elections in January of 2013, and his Likud-Yisrael Beitenu alliance won a narrow victory, capturing 31 of the Likud's 120 seats to give him the strongest hand in forming a new government.

Extra credit:

Benjamin Netanyahu's nickname is "Bibi"... His first name is often spelled as Binyamin... He has a B.S. degree in architecture (1975) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master's degree (1977) from MIT's Sloan School of Management... His older brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed while leading the Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976.

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