Benjamin Netanyahu Wikipedia
Early life and military career
Netanyahu was born in 1949 in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Tzila Segal (28 August 1912 – 31 January 2000) who had been born in Petah Tikva in the Ottoman Empire’s Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, and a Warsaw-born father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu (1910–2012). He was the second of three children. He discovered via a DNA test that he is, in part, of Sephardi Jewish ancestry. He was initially raised and educated in Jerusalem, where he attended Henrietta Szold Elementary School. A copy of his evaluation from his 6th grade teacher Ruth Rubenstein indicated that Netanyahu was courteous, polite, and helpful; that his work was “responsible and punctual”; and that he was friendly, disciplined, cheerful, brave, active and obedient.
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 Netanyahu taught at Dropsie College. Benjamin attended and graduated from Cheltenham High School and was active in the debate club, chess club, and soccer. He and his brother Yonatan grew dissatisfied with a perceived superficial way of life they encountered in the area, including the prevalent youth counterculture movement, literary interpretation focused on individualized feelings, and the liberal sensibilities of the Reform synagogue, Temple Judea of Philadelphia, that the family attended. To this day, he speaks fluent English, with a noticeable Philadelphia accent.
er 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. While there, he took part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal against the Egyptian forces, before leading a commando attack deep inside Syrian territory, whose mission remains classified today.
After He then returned to the United States and under the name Ben Nitay, completed an SB degree in architecture in February 1975 and earned an SM degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in June 1976. Concurrently, he was studying towards a doctorate in political science, until his studies were broken off by the death of his brother in Operation Entebbe.
Chairman of Likud
Prior to the 1988 Israeli legislative election Netanyahu returned to Israel and joined the Likud party. In the Likud’s internal elections, Netanyahu was placed fifth on the party list. Later on he was elected as a Knesset member of the 12th Knesset, and was appointed as a deputy of the foreign minister Moshe Arens, and later on David Levy. Netanyahu and Levy did not cooperate and the rivalry between the two only intensified afterwards. During the Gulf War in early 1991, the English-fluent Netanyahu emerged as the principal spokesman for Israel in media interviews on CNN and other news outlets. During the Madrid Conference of 1991 Netanyahu was a member of the Israeli delegation headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. After the Madrid Conference Netanyahu was appointed as Deputy Minister in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
First term as Prime Minister
Further information: Twenty-seventh government of Israel
Netanyahu’s first meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at the Erez crossing, 4 September 1996
A spate of suicide bombings reinforced the Likud position for security. Hamas claimed responsibility for most of the bombings. As Prime Minister, Netanyahu raised many questions about many central premises of the Oslo Accords. One of his main points was disagreement with the Oslo premise that the negotiations should proceed in stages, meaning that concessions should be made to Palestinians before any resolution was reached on major issues, such as the status of Jerusalem, and the amending of the Palestinian National Charter. Oslo supporters had claimed that the multi-stage approach would build goodwill among Palestinians and would propel them to seek reconciliation when these major issues were raised in later stages. Netanyahu said that these concessions only gave encouragement to extremist elements, without receiving any tangible gestures in return. He called for tangible gestures of Palestinian goodwill in return for Israeli concessions. Despite his stated differences with the Oslo Accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued their implementation, but his Premiership saw a marked slow-down in the peace process.
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.
With the fall of the Barak government in late 2000, Netanyahu expressed his desire to return to politics. By law, Barak’s resignation was supposed to lead to elections for the prime minister position only. Netanyahu insisted that general elections should be held, claiming that otherwise it would be impossible to have a stable government. 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 Netanyahu. 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.
Minister of Finance
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. Some pundits speculated that Sharon made the move because he deemed Netanyahu a political threat given his demonstrated effectiveness as Foreign Minister, and that by placing him in the Finance Ministry during a time of economic uncertainty, he could diminish Netanyahu’s popularity. Netanyahu accepted the new appointment. Sharon and Netanyahu came to an agreement that Netanyahu would have complete freedom as Finance Minister and have Sharon back all of his reforms, in exchange for Netanyahu’s silence over Sharon’s management of Israel’s military and foreign affairs.
Return to leadership of Likud
Following the withdrawal of Sharon from the Likud, Netanyahu was one of several candidates who vied for the Likud leadership. His most recent attempt prior to this was in September 2005 when he had tried to hold early primaries for the position of the head of the Likud party, while the party held the office of Prime Minister – thus effectively pushing Ariel Sharon out of office. The party rejected this initiative. Netanyahu retook the leadership on 20 December 2005, with 47% of the primary vote, to 32% for Silvan Shalom and 15% for Moshe Feiglin. In the March 2006 Knesset elections, Likud took the third place behind Kadima and Labor and Netanyahu served as Leader of the Opposition. On 14 August 2007, Netanyahu was reelected as chairman of the Likud and its candidate for the post of Prime Minister with 73% of the vote, against far-right candidate Moshe Feiglin and World Likud chairman Danny Danon. He opposed the 2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire, like others in the Knesset opposition. Specifically, Netanyahu said, “This is not a relaxation, it’s an Israeli agreement to the rearming of Hamas … What are we getting for this?”
In the first half of 2008, doctors removed a small colon polyp that proved to be benign.
In 2017 Netanyahu called for the death penalty to be imposed on the perpetrator of the 2017 Halamish stabbing attack. Representatives in his government plan to introduce a bill, which would allow the death penalty for terrorism, to the Knesset. In January 2018, 52 of 120 members of the Israeli parliament voted in favor, while 49 opposed, making it easier for judges to hand down the death penalty.
Netanyahu supports equal rights before the law for LGBT citizens, stating: “The struggle for every person to be recognized as equal before the law is a long struggle, and there is still a long way to go … I am proud that Israel is among the most open countries in the world in relation to the LGBT community discourse.” During an event held for the annual community rights day at the Knesset, Netanyahu proclaimed that he was “asked to come here in the middle of my busy schedule to say one thing to the male and female members of the LGBT community: We must be guided by the conviction that every person is created in the image of God.” However, in his coalition government, many of his coalition government party members opposed same-sex marriage.
Ethiopian Jewish integration
Netanyahu at a memorial service of Ethiopian Israeli immigrants, in honor of their friends who died on their way to Israel.
In 2015, after Ethiopian Jewish protests against police brutality, Netanyahu said: “We will bring a comprehensive plan to the government to assist you in every way. There is no room for racism and discrimination in our society, none … We will turn racism into something contemptible and despicable.”
African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem’
Netanyahu supports the integration of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem into Israeli society, and takes part in celebrations in honor of this community’s “exodus” from America to Israel, which occurred in 1967. In 2012, Netanyahu expressed appreciation towards “the cooperative society that is working towards the inclusion of the Hebrew Israelite community in Israeli society at large,” and declared that the experience of the community in the land of Israel is “an integral part of the Israeli experience.”
See also: Iran–Israel relations and Nuclear program of Iran
In an 8 March 2007 interview with CNN, opposition leader Netanyahu asserted that there is only one difference between Nazi Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely that the first entered a worldwide conflict and then sought atomic weapons, while the latter is first seeking atomic weapons and, once it has them, will then start a world war. Netanyahu repeated these remarks at a news conference in April 2008. This was similar to earlier remarks that “it’s 1938, and Iran is Germany, and Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs”.
Family and background
Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv, to Prof. Benzion Netanyahu (original name Mileikowsky) and Tzila (Cela; née Segal). His mother was born in 1912 in Petah Tikva, then in Ottoman Palestine, now Israel. Though all his grandparents were born in the Russian Empire (now Belarus, Lithuania and Poland), his mother’s parents emigrated to Minneapolis in the United States.
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. Regarding the Palestinian people, he stated: “That they won’t be able to face [anymore] the war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won’t be able to exist, and they will run away from here. But it all depends on the war, and whether we will win the battles with them.”
Netanyahu’s paternal grandfather was Nathan Mileikowsky, a leading Zionist rabbi and JNF fundraiser. Netanyahu’s older brother, Yonatan, was killed in Uganda during Operation Entebbe in 1976. His younger brother, Iddo, is a radiologist and writer. All three brothers served in the Sayeret Matkal reconnaissance unit of the Israel Defense Forces.
Marriages and relationships
Netanyahu lighting Hanukkah candles on the first night in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem with his wife, Sara and their sons, Yair and Avner, 1996
Netanyahu has been married three times. Netanyahu’s first marriage was to Miriam Weizmann, whom he met in Israel. Weizmann lived near Yonatan Netanyahu’s apartment in Jerusalem, where Netanyahu was based during his military service. By the time Netanyahu’s service was finished, Weizmann had completed her own military service and a degree in chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1972, they both left to study in the United States, where she enrolled in Brandeis University, while Netanyahu studied at MIT. They married soon afterward. The couple had one daughter, Noa (born 29 April 1978).