Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Overview
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu ( ; born October 21, 1949) is the current Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel
Health Minister of Israel
The Ministry of Health is a ministry in the Israeli government. The current Minister of Health is Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud.There is occasionally a Deputy Minister of Health...

, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel
Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel
The Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Pensioner Affairs and a position in the Israeli cabinet. The post was created following the coalition agreement between Kadima and Gil after the 2006 elections...

 and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel
Economic Strategy Minister of Israel
The Economic Strategy Minister is a member of the Israeli cabinet. The post was created following the formation of a new government in March 2009, and is held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu....

.

Netanyahu is the first and, to date, only Israeli prime minister born in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 after the founding of the state.
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Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu ( ; born October 21, 1949) is the current Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel
Health Minister of Israel
The Ministry of Health is a ministry in the Israeli government. The current Minister of Health is Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud.There is occasionally a Deputy Minister of Health...

, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel
Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel
The Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Pensioner Affairs and a position in the Israeli cabinet. The post was created following the coalition agreement between Kadima and Gil after the 2006 elections...

 and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel
Economic Strategy Minister of Israel
The Economic Strategy Minister is a member of the Israeli cabinet. The post was created following the formation of a new government in March 2009, and is held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu....

.

Netanyahu is the first and, to date, only Israeli prime minister born in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 after the founding of the state. Netanyahu joined the Israeli Defense Forces in 1967 where he served as a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

 special forces unit, taking part in many missions including Operation Gift
1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon
The 1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon, code-named Operation Gift , was an Israel Defense Forces Special Forces operation against Beirut International Airport on the night of December 27 - 28, 1968...

 and the hostage rescue mission from the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in 1972, where he was shot in the shoulder. He fought on the front lines in the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 in 1973, during which he was on occasion "almost killed", and achieved the rank of captain
Israel Defense Forces ranks
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv...

 before being discharged. Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, member of the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 Party, and was Prime Minister from June 1996 to July 1999.

Netanyahu withdrew from politics after a corruption scandal related to gifts from a government contractor. In 2002 he returned as Foreign Minister
Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The position is one of the most important in the Israeli cabinet after Prime Minister and Defense Minister...

 (2002–03) and Finance Minister (2003 – August 2005) in Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

's governments, but he departed over disagreements regarding the Gaza
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 Disengagement Plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

. He retook the Likud leadership on December 20, 2005. In the 2006 election, Likud did poorly, winning 12 seats. In December 2006, Netanyahu became the official Opposition Leader in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 and Chairman of the Likud Party. In August 2007, he retained the Likud leadership by beating Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Zalman Feiglin is an Israeli politician, head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud party in Israel...

 in party elections. Following the 10 February 2009 parliamentary election
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

, in which Likud placed second and right-wing parties won a majority, Netanyahu formed a coalition government. He is the brother of Israeli Special Forces commander Yonatan Netanyahu, who died during a hostage rescue mission
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

, and Iddo Netanyahu
Iddo Netanyahu
Iddo Netanyahu is an Israeli physician, author and playwright. He is the younger brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who is the current Prime Minister of Israel and Yonatan Netanyahu, who was killed leading the Operation Entebbe hostage rescue mission in 1976 and is considered a war hero.Netanyahu spent...

, an Israeli playwright.

In April 2011, the Israel State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss
Micha Lindenstrauss
Micha Lindenstrauss is an Israeli judge and the current State Comptroller.Lindenstrauss was born in Nazi Germany and immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine when he was two years old, on the eve of World War II...

, announced an investigation into Netanyahu's travel at the expense of private businessmen, mainly American Jews.

Early life, military service, education, and early public career


Netanyahu was born in 1949 in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 to Zila (née Segal) (1912–2000) and professor Benzion Netanyahu
Benzion Netanyahu
Benzion Netanyahu is an Israeli historian and a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He is a specialist in the golden age of Jewish History in Spain, and is known for his opus, the Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain...

 (b. 1910 in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

), the middle child of three children. He was initially raised and educated in Jerusalem. Between 1956 and 1958, and again in 1963–67, his family lived in the United States in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, where he attended and graduated from the Cheltenham High School
Cheltenham High School
Cheltenham High School is a public high school in Wyncote, Pennsylvania serving grades 9 through 12. Cheltenham is the Senior High School in the School District of Cheltenham Township...

 and was active in a debate club
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

. To this day, he speaks American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

 with a Philadelphia accent
Philadelphia accent
The Philadelphia dialect is the dialect of English spoken in Philadelphia; and extending into Philadelphia's suburbs in the Delaware Valley and southern New Jersey. It is one of the best-studied dialects of American English since Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania is the home institution of...

.

After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to enlist in the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. He trained as a combat soldier and became a team leader in an elite special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

. He was involved in many missions, including the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972 in which he was wounded by friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then led a commando team deep into Syrian territory.

After his army service Netanyahu returned to the United States, studied and earned a B.S. degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 in 1975, an M.S. degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management
MIT Sloan School of Management
The MIT Sloan School of Management is the business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts....

 in 1977, and studied political science at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. At that time he changed his name to Benjamin Ben Nitai (Nitai, a reference to both Mount Nitai and to the eponymous Jewish sage Nittai of Arbela
Nittai of Arbela
Nittai of Arbela was av beit din or vice-president of the Sanhedrin under the nasi Joshua ben Perachyah at the time of John Hyrcanus . In Yer. Hag...

, was a pen name often used by his father for articles). Years later, in an interview with the media, Netanyahu clarified that he decided to do so to make it easier for Americans to pronounce his name. This fact has been used by his political rivals to accuse him indirectly of a lack of Israeli national identity and loyalty.

In 1976 Netanyahu lost his older brother Yonatan Netanyahu, who served as the commander of the elite Israeli army commando unit Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

 and was killed in action during the counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 hostage-rescue mission Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

 in which his unit rescued more than 100 hostages hijacked and flown to the Entebbe Airport
Entebbe International Airport
Entebbe International Airport is the principal international airport of Uganda.-Location:It is located near the town of Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and about from the capital, Kampala...

 in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

.

While studying Netanyahu worked at the Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm with offices in 42 countries. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious management consulting firms in the world. It is one of only three companies to appear in the top 15 of Fortunes "Best Companies to Work For" report for...

 in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

.

After graduating in 1977 Netanyahu returned to Israel and had a brief career as a furniture company's chief marketing officer. In addition between 1978 and 1980 he formed the Jonathan Netanyahu anti-Terror Institute, a non-governmental organization devoted to the study of terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, which conducted a number of international conferences about terrorism. During this period Netanyahu made his first connections with several Israeli politicians, including Minister Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens is an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher and former diplomat and politician. A member of the Knesset between 1973 and 1992 and again from 1999 until 2003, he served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Arens has also served as the Israeli...

, who appointed him as his Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., a position he held from 1982 until 1984.

Between 1984 and 1988 Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

In 2005, he was voted the 18th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet
Ynet
Ynet is the most popular Israeli news and general content website. It is owned by the same conglomerate that operates Yediot Ahronot, the country's secondleading daily newspaper...

to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis. In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman
New Statesman
New Statesman is a British centre-left political and cultural magazine published weekly in London. Founded in 1913, and connected with leading members of the Fabian Society, the magazine reached a circulation peak in the late 1960s....

listed Netanyahu at 11th on the list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010".

Early political career: 1988–96


Prior to the 1988 Israeli legislative election
Israeli legislative election, 1988
Elections for the twelfth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1988. Voter turnout was 79.7%.-Results:1 Five members of the Likud left to form the Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea; after two returned, the party was renamed the New Liberal Party...

 Netanyahu returned to Israel and joined the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party. In the internal elections in the Likud center Netanyahu became the fifth place on the list. Later on he was elected to as a Knesset member of the 12th Knesset, and was appointed as a deputy of the foreign minister Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens is an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher and former diplomat and politician. A member of the Knesset between 1973 and 1992 and again from 1999 until 2003, he served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Arens has also served as the Israeli...

, and later on David Levy
David Levy (Israeli politician)
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1969 and 2006, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing & Construction and as a Minister without Portfolio...

. Netanyahu and Levy did not cooperate and the rivalry between the two only intensified afterwards. During the Madrid Conference of 1991
Madrid Conference of 1991
The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

 Netanyahu was among members the Israeli delegation headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

. After the Madrid Conference Netanyahu was appointed as Deputy Minister in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Following the defeat of the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party in the 1992 Israeli legislative elections
Israeli legislative election, 1992
Elections for the thirteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 23 June 1992. The result was a victory for the left, led by Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party, though their win was at least partially due to several small right-wing parties narrowly failing to cross the electoral threshold and thus effectively...

 the Likud party held a primary election in 1993 to select its leader, and Netanyahu was victorious, defeating Benny Begin, son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

, and veteran politician David Levy
David Levy (Israeli politician)
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1969 and 2006, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing & Construction and as a Minister without Portfolio...

 (Sharon initially sought Likud party leadership as well, but quickly withdrew when it was evident that he was attracting minimal support). Shamir retired from politics shortly after the Likud's defeat in the 1992 elections.

Following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin took place on November 4, 1995 at 21:30, at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv...

, his temporary successor Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 decided to call early elections in order to give the government a mandate to advance the peace process. Netanyahu was the Likud's candidate for Prime Minister in the 1996 Israeli legislative election
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1996
The first ever election for Prime Minister was held in Israel on 29 May 1996 alongside simultaneous Knesset elections. There were only two candidates: Shimon Peres of the Labour Party and Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud. The result was a surprise win for Netanyahu by a margin of 29,457 votes, less than...

 which took place on May 26, 1996 and were the first Israeli elections in which Israelis elected their Prime Minister directly. Netanyahu hired American Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 political operative Arthur Finkelstein
Arthur J. Finkelstein
Arthur J. Finkelstein is a New York-based Republican Party consultant who has worked for conservative candidates in the United States, Canada, Israel and Eastern Europe over the past four decades. With his brother he runs a political consulting and lobbying firm based in Irvington, New York...

 to run his campaign, and although the American style of sound bites and sharp attacks elicited harsh criticism from inside Israel, it proved effective. (The method was later copied by Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 during the 1999 election campaign
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1999
The second Prime Ministerial election in Israel was held on 17 May 1999 alongside elections for the 15th Knesset. Voter turnout was 69.0%.-Context:...

 in which he beat Netanyahu.) Netanyahu won the election
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1996
The first ever election for Prime Minister was held in Israel on 29 May 1996 alongside simultaneous Knesset elections. There were only two candidates: Shimon Peres of the Labour Party and Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud. The result was a surprise win for Netanyahu by a margin of 29,457 votes, less than...

, becoming the youngest person in the history of the position and the first Israeli Prime Minister to be born in the State of Israel. (Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem, under the British Mandate of Palestine, prior to the 1948 founding of the Israeli state).

Netanyahu's victory over the pre-election favorite Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 surprised many. The main catalyst in the downfall of the latter was a wave of suicide bombings shortly before the elections; on 3 and March 4, 1996, Palestinians carried out two suicide bombings, killing 32 Israelis, with Peres seemingly unable to stop the attacks. Unlike Peres, Netanyahu did not trust Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 and conditioned any progress at the peace process on the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 fulfilling its obligations – mainly fighting terrorism, and ran with the campaign slogan "Netanyahu – making a safe peace". However, although Netanyahu won the election for Prime Minister, Labor won the Knesset elections
Israeli legislative election, 1996
Elections for the fourteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 29 May 1996. Voter turnout was 79.3%.The 1996 elections included two new changes, both designed to increase the stability of the Knesset. First, the Prime Minister was to be elected on a separate ballot from the remaining members of the...

, beating the Likud–Gesher–Tzomet
Tzomet
Tzomet is a small secular, right-wing political party in Israel.-Ideology:The party was the one who first brought the "peace for peace" slogan, which today is used by all Israeli right wing parties and movements...

 alliance, meaning Netanyahu had to rely on a coalition with the Ultra-orthodox
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 parties, Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

 and UTJ
United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel, two small Israeli Haredi political parties in the Knesset. It was first formed in 1992.The two parties have not always agreed with each other about policy matters...

 (whose social welfare policies flew in the face of his capitalistic outlook) in order to govern.

First term as Prime Minister: 1996–99



A spate of suicide bombings reinforced the Likud position for security. Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 claimed responsibility for most of the bombings.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu raised many questions about many central premises of the Oslo peace process. 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
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued their implementation, but his Prime Ministership saw a marked slow-down in the Peace Process.

In 1996, Netanyahu and Jerusalem's mayor Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 decided to open an exit in the Arab Quarter for the Western Wall Tunnel
Western Wall Tunnel
The Western Wall Tunnel is an underground tunnel exposing the full length of the Western Wall. The tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall and is located under buildings of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. While the open-air portion of the Western Wall is approximately long, the majority of its...

, which prior Prime Minister Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 had instructed to be put on hold for the sake of peace. This sparked three days of rioting by Palestinians, resulting in both Israelis and Palestinians being killed.

In January 1997 Netanyahu signed the Hebron Protocol with the Palestinian Authority which resulted in the redeployment of Israeli forces in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 and the turnover of civilian authority in much of the area to the Palestinian Authority.

Eventually, the lack of progress of the peace process led to new negotiations which produced the Wye River Memorandum
Wye River Memorandum
The Wye River Memorandum was an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of 28 September, 1995...

 in 1998 which detailed the steps to be taken by the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of 1995. It was signed by Netanyahu and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

, and on November 17, 1998, Israel's 120 member parliament, the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, approved the Wye River Memorandum by a vote of 75–19.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized a policy of "three no(s)": no withdrawal from the Golan Heights, no discussion of the case of Jerusalem, no negotiations under any preconditions.

Netanyahu was opposed by the political left wing in Israel and also lost support from the right because of his concessions to the Palestinians in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 and elsewhere, and due to his negotiations with Arafat generally. Netanyahu lost favor with the Israeli public after a long chain of scandals involving his marriage and corruption charges. In 1997, police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges for influence-peddling. He was accused of appointing an attorney general who would reduce the charges and prosecutors ruled that there was insufficient evidence to go to trial. In 1999, Netanyahu faced another scandal when the Israel Police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 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.

After being defeated by Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 in the 1999 election for Prime Minister
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1999
The second Prime Ministerial election in Israel was held on 17 May 1999 alongside elections for the 15th Knesset. Voter turnout was 69.0%.-Context:...

, Netanyahu temporarily retired from politics.

Political downturn and recovery: 2000–03


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
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, 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.

On September 9, 2002, a scheduled speech by Netanyahu at Concordia University in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 was canceled after hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters overwhelmed security and smashed through a glass window. Netanyahu was not present at the protest, having remained at Montreal's Ritz Hotel throughout the duration. He later accused the activists of supporting terrorism and "mad zealotry."

Netanyahu challenged Sharon for the leadership of the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party, but failed to oust Sharon.

Finance Minister: 2003–05



After the 2003 Israeli legislative election, in what many observers regarded as a surprise move, Sharon offered the Foreign Ministry
Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The position is one of the most important in the Israeli cabinet after Prime Minister and Defense Minister...

 to Silvan Shalom
Silvan Shalom
' , born 4 October 1958) is an Israeli politician, member of the Knesset for Likud and the country's Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development. He previously served as the country's Foreign Minister and Finance Minister.-Biography:...

 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 after Sharon agreed to provide him with an unprecedented level of independence in running the ministry..

As Finance Minister, Netanyahu undertook an economic plan in order to restore Israel's economy from its low point during the al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

. The plan involved a move toward more liberalized markets
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

, although it was not without its critics. Netanyahu succeeded in passing several long-unresolved reforms, including an important reform in the banking system. However, opponents in the Labor party (and even a few within his own Likud) viewed Netanyahu's policies as "Thatcherite" attacks on the venerated Israeli social safety net.

Netanyahu threatened to resign in 2004 unless the Gaza pullout plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 was put to a referendum, but later lifted the ultimatum and voted for the programme in the Knesset. He submitted his resignation letter on August 7, 2005, shortly before the Israeli cabinet voted 17 to 5 to approve the initial phase of withdrawal from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

. Shortly thereafter he said he had rejected an invitation to serve as Italy's finance minister, allegedly extended to him by Italian billionaire businessman Carlo De Benedetti
Carlo De Benedetti
Carlo De Benedetti is an Italian industrialist, engineer and publisher. He is both an Italian and naturalized Swiss citizen....

, who later said it was a joke.

Likud leader and opposition leader: 2005–09


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
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 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 December 20, 2005, with 47% of the primary vote. In the March 2006 Knesset elections, Likud took the third place behind Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 and Labor and Netanyahu served as Leader of the Opposition.

On August 14, 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
Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Zalman Feiglin is an Israeli politician, head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud party in Israel...

 and World Likud Chairman Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Danny Danon is an Israeli politician who serves as a member of the Knesset for Likud. He is chairman of World Likud and Chair of the Knesset Committee for Aliya , Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.-Biography:...

. He opposed the 2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire
2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire
-Background: After its victory in the 2006 municipal legislative elections, Hamas assumed administrative control of Gaza. Hamas consolidated this control over Gaza after a military conflict with Fatah. Israel and Egypt then partially sealed their border crossings with Gaza, on the grounds that...

, 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?"

Following Livni's election to head Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 and Olmert's resignation from the post of Prime Minister, Netanyahu declined to join the coalition Livni was trying to form and supported new elections, which were held in February 2009.


Netanyahu was the Likud's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2009 Israeli legislative election
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

 which took place on February 10, 2009, as Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

, the previous Designated Acting Prime Minister under the Olmert government, had been unable to form a viable governing coalition. Opinion polls showed Likud in the lead, but with as many as a third of Israeli voters undecided.

In the election itself, Likud won the second highest number of seats, Livni's party having outnumbered the Likud by one seat. A possible explanation for Likud's relatively poor showing is that some Likud supporters defected to Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party. Netanyahu, however, claimed victory on the basis that right wing parties won the majority of the vote, and on February 20, 2009, Netanyahu was designated by Israeli President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 to succeed Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 as Prime Minister, and began his negotiations to form a coalition government.

Despite right wing parties winning a majority of 65 seats in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, Netanyahu preferred a broader centrist coalition and turned to his Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 rivals, chaired by Tzipi Livni, to join his government. This time it was Livni's turn to decline to join, with a difference of opinion on how to pursue the peace process being the stumbling block. Netanyahu did manage to entice a smaller rival, the Labour party, chaired by Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

, to join his government, giving him a certain amount of centrist tone.

Netayahu presented his cabinet for a Knesset "Vote of Confidence" on March 31, 2009. The 32nd Government was approved that day by a majority of 69 lawmakers to 45 (with five abstaining) and the members were sworn in.

Second term as Prime Minister: 2009–present


In March 2009 US Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 traveled to Israel. She warned that Israeli settlements and demolition of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 homes in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 were "unhelpful" to the peace process. Clinton also voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state
State of Palestine
Palestine , officially declared as the State of Palestine , is a state that was proclaimed in exile in Algiers on 15 November 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence...

—a solution not endorsed by Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom she had earlier pledged the United States' cooperation. Upon the arrival of President Obama administration's special envoy, George Mitchell
George J. Mitchell
George John Mitchell, Jr., is the former U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under the Obama administration. A Democrat, Mitchell was a United States Senator who served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995...

, Netanyahu said that any furtherance of negotiations with the Palestinians will be conditioned on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, as this issue had not been sufficiently clarified.

During a May 19, 2009 meeting with US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

, Obama said a two state solution was a priority and called for settlement growth to be frozen, while Netanyahu refused to support the creation of a Palestinian state and stated that Israel has the right to continue settlements.

During President Obama's Cairo speech
A New Beginning
"A New Beginning" is the name of a speech delivered by United States President Barack Obama on June 4, 2009, from the Major Reception Hall at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. Al-Azhar University co-hosted the event...

 on June 4, 2009 in which Obama addressed the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, Obama stated, among other things, that "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements". "This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." Following Obama's Cairo speech Netanyahu immediately called a special government meeting. On June 14, ten days after Obama's Cairo speech, Netanyahu gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he endorsed a "Demilitarized Palestinian State". The speech was widely seen as a response to Obama's speech. In a rejoinder to Obama's mentioning of the founding of Israel in the context of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, Netanyahu remarked, "[t]here are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the State of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the State of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred." Netanyahu stated that he would accept a Palestinian state if Jerusalem were to remain the united capital of Israel
Positions on Jerusalem
There are differing legal and diplomatic positions on Jerusalem held within the international community. Governments and scholars alike are divided over the legal status of Jerusalem under international law. Most countries of the world do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Many do not...

, the Palestinians would have no army, and the Palestinians would give up their demand for a right of return
Palestinian right of return
The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants, have a right to return, and a right to the property they or their forebears left or which they were forced to leave in what is now Israel...

. He also argued the right for a "natural growth" in the existing Jewish settlements
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 while their permanent status is up to further negotiation. The address represented a renewal in Netanyahu's willingness to appeal for Palestinian leadership to accept peace. The overture was quickly rejected by Palestinian leaders such as Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri
Sami Abu Zuhri
Sami Abu Zuhri is a senior spokesman for the Palestinian political party Hamas. Zuhri, a relatively unknown member of Hamas, gained notoriety on May 19, 2006, when Palestinian security and customs officials discovered he had 640,000 euros on his person; another report claimed he held a larger sum...

, who called the speech "racist".

Three months after starting his term, Netanyahu remarked that his cabinet already had achieved several notable successes, such as the establishment of a working national unity government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

, and a broad consensus for a "Two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

". The Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

-led opposition submitted a no-confidence measure to the Knesset shortly after Netanyahu concluded his first 100 days in office. A July 2009 survey by Ha'aretz found that most Israelis support the Netanyahu government, giving him a personal approval rating of about 49 percent, a spike from 28 percent prior to his Bar-Ilan
Bar-Ilan University
Bar-Ilan University is a university in Ramat Gan of the Tel Aviv District, Israel.Established in 1955, Bar Ilan is now Israel's second-largest academic institution. It has nearly 26,800 students and 1,350 faculty members...

 speech.

As part of his "economic peace", to boost the Palestinian economy, while insisting not a substitute to political negotiations, Netanyahu has lifted checkpoints in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, in order to allow freedom of movement and a flow of imports as a "highway to peace", a step that resulted in an economic boost in the West Bank.

On July 23, 2009, Netanyahu welcomed the Arab Peace initiative (also known as the "Saudi Peace Initiative"), stating that "The Arab initiative provides a tailwind to the Peace Process", and also lauded a call by Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

's Crown Prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain is the heir apparent of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain defence force...

 to normalize relations with Israel. On July 31, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud El Faisal
Saud bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz
Saud bin Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud , also known as Saud Al Faisal, has been the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia since 1975. He is the world's longest-serving Foreign Minister....

, at a press conference with U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejected the U.S pressure on Arab states to make gestures toward normalizing ties with Israel as "confidence-building" measures, stating that "'step-by-step' diplomatic approach, have not and will not lead to peace", and that "temporary security arrangement as well, so-called 'confidence-building' measures will not lead to peace either." He added that a comprehensive approach is needed in order to tackle the core issues of the conflict, that include "The future of the Palestinian State, control over Jerusalem, the return of the refugees to their country, and water and security arrangements". He also argued that Israel was diverting attention "From the occupation that had began on 1967, and the establishment of a Palestinian State, towards secondary issues, such as flying methods (referring to one of the gestures) and academic arguments, and said that "It is time all the inhabitants of the Middle East will live a normal life".

On August 10, 2009, Netanyahu warned that "If Hezbollah will enter the (Lebanese
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

) government as an official factor, let it be clear that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any attack carried out from its territory. Once they [Hezbullah] are part of the government, the sovereign government of Lebanon is the one responsible. I hope we will not be forced to make such responses". However, he maintained his assessment that "There are no 'winds of war' brewing in the North" the next day.

On August 23, 2009, Netanyahu announced in his weekly cabinet meeting that negotiations with the Palestinians will begin in September and will be officially launched on his visit to New York, after he had accepted an invitation from President Barack Obama for a "Triple Summit" there. He added that there is progress with special envoy George Mitchell
George J. Mitchell
George John Mitchell, Jr., is the former U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under the Obama administration. A Democrat, Mitchell was a United States Senator who served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995...

, though there is no full agreement on everything, and there will be more rounds of meetings [until September]. On the same day, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas said he refused to participate in peace negotiations as long as there was any building going on in settlements.

On August 26, 2009, Netanyahu and special envoy George Mitchell met, in what was perceived as a critical meeting towards an understanding on a settlement freeze between Israel and the U.S, in which they reaffirmed in a joint statement the need for a meaningful negotiation between the Israelis and Palestinians that will lead to a comprehensive peace agreement, and Abbas declared the same day that he will be willing to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the U.N General Assembly, where Netanyahu had accepted president Obama's invitation for a "triple summit", although he said it would not necessarily lead to negotiations. 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
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, in exchange for freezing all settlements thereafter, as well as continuing building in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, and at the same time stopping the demolition of houses of Arab inhabitants there. It was also reported that the U.S Administration was planning a "modest" summit with a principle declaration and stiff timetable, rather than a "Grand Plan".

On September 4, 2009, it was reported that Netanyahu was to agree to settlers' political demands to approve more settlement constructions before a temporary settlement freeze agreement took place. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs
Robert Gibbs
Robert Lane Gibbs was the 28th White House Press Secretary. Gibbs was the communications director for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign...

 expressed "regret" over the move; however, one U.S official said the move will not "derail [the] train".

On September 7, 2009, Netanyahu left his office without reporting where he was headed, his schedule was mysteriously cleared, and his whereabouts were unknown for a several hours. The prime minister's military secretary, Maj. Gen. Meir Kalifi, later reported Netanyahu had visited a security facility in Israel. At the same time, a Palestinian newspaper reported that Netanyahu had left for a visit in an Arab state that does not have diplomatic ties with Israel. On September 9, 2009, Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth is a daily newspaper published in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since the 1970s, it has been the most widely circulated paper in Israel. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Yedioth Ahronoth retained the title of most widely read newspaper in Israel...

 reported that the Israeli leader had made a secret flight to Moscow to try to persuade Russian officials not to sell S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. The report caused a local media storm, with angry journalists accusing Netanyahu’s office of lying. Headlines branded Netanyahu a "liar" and dubbed the affair a "fiasco." It was later reported that the PM's military secretary will be dismissed due to the affair. The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

reported that the trip was made to share the names of Russian scientists that Israel believes are abetting the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

On September 16, 2009, special envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel for one of his last rounds before a triple summit at the U.N. between President Obama, Netanyahu and PA president Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

, in order to secure such a summit. Despite shuttling between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he failed to secure such a summit. However, it was reported that he had expected his trip to be extended, that he would meet Prime Minister Netanyahu again two days later, and that there might be a three-way summit without relaunching the peace process, after which negotiations on understandings between Israel and the U.S would continue. On September 18, Netanyahu and Mitchell met again, but failed to reach an agreement that will secure the summit. Later that day, Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 reported that Israeli officials blamed the Palestinian Authority for thwarting the peace talks.

On September 20, 2009, the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 announced that it will host a three-way meeting between President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

, within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, "in an effort to lay the groundwork for renewed negotiations on Mideast peace." The meeting took place on September 22, in New York. Afterwards, Netanyahu said that he agreed with Abbas during the meeting that peace talks should be relaunched as soon as possible.

On September 24, 2009, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, 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. Waving the blueprints for Auschwitz and invoking the memory of his own family members murdered by the Nazis, Netanyahu delivered his most passionate and public riposte yet to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's questioning of the Holocaust, asking: "Have you no shame?"

In response to pressure from the Obama administration urging the sides to resume peace talks, on November 25, 2009 Netanyahu announced a partial 10 month settlement construction freeze plan. The announced partial freeze had no significant effect on actual settlement construction, according to an analysis by the major Israeli daily Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

. U.S special envoy George Mitchell said, "while the United States shares Arab concerns about the limitations of Israel's gesture, it is more than any Israeli government has ever done". In his announcement Netanyahu called the move "a painful step that will encourage the peace process" and urged the Palestinians to respond. However, the Palestinians rejected the call.

On December 7, 2009, a bill with Netanyahu's backing obligating a national referendum on any withdrawals from land passed 68–22 in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

. Opponents of the bill claim it would be another obstacle to peace, by tying a Prime Minister's hand in any future peace accord. Source in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n foreign ministry says Israel 'provoking... international community' with referendum bill.

On March 10, 2010, Israel's government approved construction of an additional 1,600 apartments in a large Jewish housing development in northeastern Jerusalem called Ramat Shlomo
Ramat Shlomo
Ramat Shlomo Heights) is a large Jewish housing development in northern East Jerusalem. The population, mostly ultra-Orthodox, is 18,000-20,000....

 despite the position of the current U.S. Government that acts such as this thwart the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israeli government's announcement occurred during a visit by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 and the U.S. government subsequently issued a strongly worded condemnation of the plan. The European Union also condemned the announcement and issued a statement calling on the Israeli government to reverse the decision. 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
Gilo
Gilo is a neighborhood in southern East Jerusalem with a population of 40,000, mostly Jewish. It is one of the five ring neighborhoods of Jerusalem and is built on land in the West Bank that was annexed to Israel in 1980 under the Jerusalem Law. The international community regards it as an...

 have always been included as part of Israel in any final agreement plan that has been proposed by either side to date. Netanyahu regretted the timing of the announcement but asserted that "our policy on Jerusalem is the same policy followed by all Israeli governments for the 42 years, and it has not changed. As far as we are concerned, building in Jerusalem is the same as building in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

."
In September 2010, Netanyahu agreed to enter direct talks
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2010
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority have been taking place since September 2010, between United States President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and ended when Netanyahu refused to extend...

, mediated by the Obama administration
Presidency of Barack Obama
The Presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009 when he became the 44th President of the United States. Obama was a United States Senator from Illinois at the time of his victory over Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election...

, with the Palestinians for the first time in a long while. The ultimate aim of these direct talks is to forge the framework of an official "final status settlement" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 by forming a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 for the Jewish people and the Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

. Nevertheless, the Israeli government publicly stated that a lasting peace wouldn't take effect immediately due to Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and Hezbollah presence threatening the progress. In addition the Israeli government clearly rejected any possible agreement with the Palestinian side as long as that side refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state
Jewish state
A homeland for the Jewish people was an idea that rose to the fore in the 19th century in the wake of growing anti-Semitism and Jewish assimilation. Jewish emancipation in Europe paved the way for two ideological solutions to the Jewish Question: cultural assimilation, as envisaged by Moses...

.

On September 27, the 10 month settlement freeze ended, and the Israeli government approved new construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In January 2011, Labor Party leader Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 formed a breakaway party, Independence
Independence (Israeli political party)
Independence is a recently-established political party in Israel. It was launched by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 17 January 2011 after he and four other Labour Party MKs announced their secession from the caucus...

, which enabled Barak to maintain his loyal Labor MK faction within the Netanyahu coalition government, and prevented the departure of Labor as a whole from the government. Labor previously threatened to force Barak to do so. After Barak's move, Netanyahu was able to maintain a majority of 66 MKs (out 120 in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

), previously having 74 MKs within his majority coalition.

In March and April 2011 the Israeli media published a series of articles claiming that interest groups had paid for foreign trips of Netanyahu and his wife. In response, Netanyahu filed two libel suits on a total of one million NIS each against the newspaper Ma'ariv and several of its employees, and against the news division of Israeli channel 10 Hadashot 10
Hadashot 10
Hadashot 10 Ba'am is an Israeli subsidiary company fully owned by "Israel 10 Ltd." company , producing the Prime time news program on the Israeli commercial Channel 10, and all its current affairs and news programs and items.-See also:...

, against the Israeli web portal Nana 10
Nana 10
Nana 10 , previouslly Nana , is an Israeli Web portal, one of the biggest in Israeli web media. The website is owned by Israeli web and communication company 013 Netvision, and Israeli news Channel 10, and consist of Internet forums, which it is especially known for, news, culture sections, an...

 and several employees. Later on, the couple filed another libel suit in the amount of 3.5 million NIS against the Israeli channel 10, Nana 10
Nana 10
Nana 10 , previouslly Nana , is an Israeli Web portal, one of the biggest in Israeli web media. The website is owned by Israeli web and communication company 013 Netvision, and Israeli news Channel 10, and consist of Internet forums, which it is especially known for, news, culture sections, an...

, Hadashot 10
Hadashot 10
Hadashot 10 Ba'am is an Israeli subsidiary company fully owned by "Israel 10 Ltd." company , producing the Prime time news program on the Israeli commercial Channel 10, and all its current affairs and news programs and items.-See also:...

 and the Israeli journalists Raviv Drucker and Mickey Rosenthal.

In 2011, it was revealed that, on retiring from office in July of that year, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 had said that Netanyahu was ungrateful to the United States and endangering Israel. Responding, the Likud party defended Netanyahu by saying that most Israelis supported the prime minister and that he had broad support in the United States.

Oslo Accords


From the inception of the Oslo accords, Netanyahu opposed them. During his term as prime minister in the late 1990s, Netanyahu consistently reneged on commitments made by previous Israeli governments as part of the Oslo peace process, leading American peace envoy Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Dennis B. Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W...

 to note that “neither President Clinton nor Secretary [of State Madeleine] Albright believed that Bibi had any real interest in pursuing peace.”

In a 2001 video, Netanyahu, reportedly unaware he was being recorded, said: "They asked me before the election if I'd honor [the Oslo Accords]," "I said I would, but ... I'm going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the '67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I'm concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue."

Prior to second term as Prime Minister


Netanyahu had previously called U.S.-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. He 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. This is in line with many significant ideas from the Peace Valley plan. He raised these ideas during discussions with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

. Netanyahu continued to advocate these ideas as the Israeli elections approached.
Netanyahu has said:

Right now, the peace talks are based on only one thing, only on peace talks. It makes no sense at this point to talk about the most contractible issue. It's Jerusalem or bust, or right of return or bust. That has led to failure and is likely to lead to failure again....We must weave an economic peace alongside a political process. That means that we have to strengthen the moderate parts of the Palestinian economy by handing rapid growth in those areas, rapid economic growth that gives a stake for peace for the ordinary Palestinians."


In January 2009, prior to the February 2009 Israeli elections 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
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, in contravention of the Road Map, but not building new ones.

June 2009 peace address; "Bar-Ilan Speech"


On June 14, 2009, Netanyahu delivered a seminal address at Bar-Ilan University (also known as "Bar-Ilan Speech"), at Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies , is an independent academic body aspiring to contribute to promoting peace and security in the Middle East, through policy-oriented researches on national security in the Middle East, that is located near the Political Science department within Bar-Ilan...

, that was broadcast live in Israel and across parts of the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, on the topic of the Middle East peace process. He endorsed for the first time the notion of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Netanyahu's speech could be viewed in part as a response to Obama's June 4 speech at Cairo
A New Beginning
"A New Beginning" is the name of a speech delivered by United States President Barack Obama on June 4, 2009, from the Major Reception Hall at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. Al-Azhar University co-hosted the event...

. Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth
Yedioth Ahronoth is a daily newspaper published in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since the 1970s, it has been the most widely circulated paper in Israel. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Yedioth Ahronoth retained the title of most widely read newspaper in Israel...

claimed that Obama's words had "resonated through Jerusalem's corridors".

As part of his proposal, Netanyahu demanded the full demilitarization of the proposed state, with no army, rockets, missiles, or control of its airspace, and said that Jerusalem would be undivided Israeli territory
Positions on Jerusalem
There are differing legal and diplomatic positions on Jerusalem held within the international community. Governments and scholars alike are divided over the legal status of Jerusalem under international law. Most countries of the world do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Many do not...

. He stated that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the Jewish national state with an undivided Jerusalem. He rejected a right of return
Palestinian right of return
The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants, have a right to return, and a right to the property they or their forebears left or which they were forced to leave in what is now Israel...

 for Palestinian refugees, saying, "any demand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel's continued existence as the state of the Jewish people." He also stated that a complete stop to settlement building
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, as required by the 2003 Road Map
Road map for peace
The roadmap for peace or "road map" for peace is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service...

 peace proposal, was not possible and the expansions will be limited based on the "natural growth" of the population, including immigration, with no new territories taken in. Nevertheless, Netanyahu affirmed that he accepted the Road Map proposal. He did not discuss whether or not the settlements should be part of Israel after peace negotiations, simply saying that the "question will be discussed".

In a response to U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's statements in his Cairo speech
A New Beginning
"A New Beginning" is the name of a speech delivered by United States President Barack Obama on June 4, 2009, from the Major Reception Hall at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. Al-Azhar University co-hosted the event...

, Netanyahu remarked, "there are those who say that if the Holocaust had not occurred, the State of Israel would never have been established. But I say that if the State of Israel would have been established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred." He also said, "this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged." He stated that he would be willing to meet with any "Arab leader" for negotiations without preconditions, specifically mentioning Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. In general, the address represented a new position for Netanyahu's government on the peace process.

Some right-wing members of Netanyahu's governing coalition criticized his remarks for the creation of a Palestinian State; believing that all of the land should remain under Israeli sovereignty. Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 MK
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Danny Danon is an Israeli politician who serves as a member of the Knesset for Likud. He is chairman of World Likud and Chair of the Knesset Committee for Aliya , Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.-Biography:...

 said that Netanyahu went "against the Likud platform", while MK
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 Uri Orbakh
Uri Orbakh
Uri Shraga Orbakh is an Israeli Religious Zionist writer, journalist and politician. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for The Jewish Home party.-Biography:...

 of Habayit Hayehudi said that it had "dangerous implications". Opposition party Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 leader Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

 remarked after the address that she thinks Netanyahu does not really believe in the two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 at all; she thought that he only said what he did as a feigned response to international pressure. Peace Now blasted the speech, highlighting the fact that, in the group's opinion, it did not address the Palestinians as equal partners in the peace process. The Secretary General of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, said, "It's a rerun of Netanyahu from his first term".

On August 9, 2009, speaking at the opening of government meeting 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 (the second of which is) a security settlement".

International reaction


Netanyahu's "Bar-Ilan Speech" provoked mixed reaction from the International community:
– The Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 rejected the conditions to a Palestinian State given by Netanyahu. Senior official Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat (also Erakat; Ṣāʼib ʻUrayqāt or ʻRēqāt, born April 28, 1955 in Jordanian controlled East Jerusalem was the Palestinian chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee until 12 February 2011...

 said, "Netanyahu's speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations". Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it reflected a "racist and extremist ideology" and called on Arab nations to "form stronger opposition". Palestinian Islamic Jihad labeled it "misleading" and, like Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, demanded stronger opposition to Israel from Arab nations. According to The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as The Palestine Post. The daily readership numbers do not approach those of the major Hebrew newspapers....

, some leaders advocated a third intifada in response to the speech.
– The Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 dismissed the address, declaring in a statement that "Arabs would not make concessions regarding issues of Jerusalem and refugees" and that "we know his history and style of evasion", adding that the Arab League would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
– The Czech Republic, which held the presidency of the European Union, praised Netanyahu's address. "In my view, this is a step in the right direction. The acceptance of a Palestinian state was present there," said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout
Jan Kohout
Jan Kohout is a Czech diplomat and politician. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in caretaker government of Prime Minister Jan Fischer. Kohout had been a member of the Social Democratic Party before accepting the office of Foreign Minister.After the Velvet revolution, he entered the...

, whose country held the EU's six-month presidency at the time of the speech.
– The Press secretary of President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Robert Gibbs
Robert Gibbs
Robert Lane Gibbs was the 28th White House Press Secretary. Gibbs was the communications director for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign...

, said that the speech was an "important step forward". President Obama stated that "this solution can and must ensure both Israel's security and the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for a viable state".
– Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt
, Honorary KCMG is a Swedish politician, diplomat and nobleman. Formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999, Bildt has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006...

 stated that "the fact that he uttered the word state is a small step forward". He added that "whether what he mentioned can be defined as a state is a subject of some debate".
– France praised the speech but called on Israel to cease building settlements in the West Bank. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde...

 stated that "I can only welcome the prospect of a Palestinian state outlined by the Israeli Prime Minister".
– The Foreign Ministry of Russia called the speech "a sign of readiness for dialogue" but said that "it does not open up the road to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The conditions on the Palestinians would be unacceptable".
– Referring to Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, Egypt's then President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 remarked, "You won't find anyone to answer that call in Egypt, or in any other place". Issuing a less blunt response, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that the speech was "not complete" and that it hoped for another, "different Israeli proposal which is built on the commitment to the two-state solution".
– Syrian state media condemned the speech and wrote that "Netanyahu has confirmed that he rejects the Arab peace initiative for peace along with all the initiatives and resolutions of the Security Council to relative peace".
– Lebanese President Michel Suleiman
Michel Suleiman
Michel Suleiman or Sleiman is the President of Lebanon. Before assuming office as President, he held the position of commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces. After LAF commander Émile Lahoud took office as president in November of 1998, Suleiman succeeded him, taking his place in December...

 called for unity among Arab leaders, saying that "Arab leaders should be more united and preserve the spirit of resistance to face the Israeli stands regarding the peace process and the Palestinian refugee issue." He called on the international community to exert more pressure on the Israeli government to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, as he said Israel still has a will of military confrontation which can be proved in its offensives on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
– Jordanian Minister of State for Media affairs and Communications, and Government spokesperson Nabil Sharif issued a statement saying "The ideas presented by Netanyahu do not live up to what was agreed on by the international community as a starting point for achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region".
– Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to the speech as "bad news".

Opinion on unilateral withdrawals


On August 9, 2009, speaking at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu promised not to repeat the "mistake" of the Gaza unilateral pullout
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

, saying, "We will not repeat this mistake. We will not create new evacuees", and adding that "the unilateral evacuation brought neither peace nor security. On the contrary", and that "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 [the second is] a security settlement. In the case of Gaza, both of these factors were lacking". He also 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".

Iran


On February 20, 2009, after being asked to be the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu described Iran as the greatest threat that Israel has ever faced: "Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence."

Speaking before the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2009, Netanyahu slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the forum, saying those who believe Tehran is a threat only to Israel are wrong. "The Iranian regime", he said, "is motivated by fanaticism… They want to see us go back to medieval times. The struggle against Iran pits civilization against barbarism. This Iranian regime is fueled by extreme fundamentalism."

Comparing Iran's leadership to Nazi Germany


Strongly opposed to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

's alleged pursuit of uranium enrichment, Netanyahu said "It’s 1938, and Iran is Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, and Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs”. In an March 8, 2007 interview with CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, he 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.

On January 27, 2010, speaking at Holocaust remembrance ceremony held at Auschwitz, in a possible reference to Iran Netanyahu said, "We will always remember what the Nazi Amalek
Amalek
The Amalekites are a people mentioned a number of times in the Hebrew Bible. They are considered to be descended from an ancestor Amalek....

 did to us, and we won't forget to be prepared for the new Amalek, who is making an appearance on the stage of history and once again threatening to destroy the Jews".

Jonathan Pollard


Netanyahu has repeatedly called for the release of Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Jay Pollard worked as a civilian intelligence analyst before being convicted of spying for Israel. He received a life sentence in 1987....

, an American serving a life sentence for passing secret U.S. documents to Israel. Netanyahu has called for his release over the course of several presidential administrations. He raised the issue at the Wye River Summit in 1998, where he claimed that U.S. President Bill Clinton had privately agreed to release Pollard; Clinton denied the assertion.

In 2002, Netanyahu visited Pollard at his North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 prison. The Israeli Prime Minister maintains contact with Pollard's wife, and has been active in pressing the Obama administration to release Pollard. Netanyahu has characterized Pollard as "a warmhearted Jew, proud and a real Zionist."

Defense and security


The Israeli General Staff concluded that the armed forces cannot maintain their battle readiness under Netanyahu's proposed cuts.

Netanyahu arranged for 1000 prisoners to be swapped for Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit is an Israeli – French citizen and Israel Defense Forces soldier. On 25 June 2006, he was captured inside Israel by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid via underground tunnels near the border with Gaza. The Hamas militants held him for over five years, until he was released on...

, including terrorists with "blood on their hands." About 60% of the released terrorists were expected to return to terrorism.

According to a U.S. State Department representative in November 2011, under the leadership of Netanyahu and Obama, Israel and the United States have enjoyed unprecedented security cooperation.

Personal relations with foreign leaders


During the 2011 G20 summit in Cannes, French president Nicholas Sarkozy was overhead saying to president Barack Obama, "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar". To this Obama responded, "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day." Journalists covering the event were requested to sign an agreement not to report the incident.

Sarkozy and Netanyahu originally became acquainted when Sarkozy was the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, after an introduction by a mutual friend. The two used to dine together in Paris and Israel.

Family and personal life




Related to the Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon)
Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

 on his paternal side, Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, to Benzion Netanyahu
Benzion Netanyahu
Benzion Netanyahu is an Israeli historian and a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He is a specialist in the golden age of Jewish History in Spain, and is known for his opus, the Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain...

 (original name Mileikowsky) and Cela (Tsilah; née Segal). His mother was born in 1912 in Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva known as Em HaMoshavot , is a city in the Center District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2009, the city's population stood at 209,600. The population density is approximately...

, part of the future British Mandate of Palestine that eventually became Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Though all his grandparents were born in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 (now Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Poland), his mother's parents emigrated to Minneapolis in the United States.

Netanyahu's father, Benzion
Benzion Netanyahu
Benzion Netanyahu is an Israeli historian and a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He is a specialist in the golden age of Jewish History in Spain, and is known for his opus, the Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain...

, is a former professor of Jewish history
Jewish history
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, a former editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica
Encyclopaedia Hebraica
The Encyclopaedia Hebraica is a comprehensive encyclopedia in the Hebrew language that was published in the latter half of the 20th century.-History:...

, and a former senior aide to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, who has remained active in research and writing into his 90s. Regarding the Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

, he has 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 Rabbi Natan Mileikowsky, a leading Religious Zionist rabbi and JNF
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

 fundraiser. Netanyahu's older brother, Yonatan, was killed in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 during Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

 in 1976. His younger brother, Iddo
Iddo Netanyahu
Iddo Netanyahu is an Israeli physician, author and playwright. He is the younger brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who is the current Prime Minister of Israel and Yonatan Netanyahu, who was killed leading the Operation Entebbe hostage rescue mission in 1976 and is considered a war hero.Netanyahu spent...

, is a radiologist and writer. All three brothers served in the Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

 reconnaissance unit of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

.

Netanyahu's first marriage was to Dr. Miriam Weizmann, whom he met in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

. The couple had one daughter, Noa. The marriage ended in 1978. In 1981, he married Fleur Cates, a British citizen whom he met while they were both living in Boston, but the couple divorced in 1984. In 1991 Netanyahu married his third wife, Sara Ben-Artzi, a psychology major working as a flight attendant
Flight attendant
Flight attendants or cabin crew are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.-History:The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar...

, whom he met while traveling on an El Al
El Al
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd , trading as El Al , is the flag carrier of Israel. It operates scheduled domestic and international services and cargo flights to Europe, North America, Africa and the Far East from its main base in Ben Gurion International Airport...

 flight from New York to Israel. He and Sara have two sons, Yair and Avner. Yair is a Corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit
IDF Spokesperson's Unit
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit is the unit in the IDF Operations Directorate, responsible for information policy and media relations. The unit is led by the IDF Spokesperson, a brigadier general and member of the General Staff, and by the Deputy Spokesperson, a colonel. The current Spokesperson is...

. Avner is a national Bible champion and winner of the prestigious National Bible Quiz for Youth in Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona is a city located in the North District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley on the Lebanese border. The city was named for the eight people, including Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 defending Tel Hai....

. Sara has been the defendant of numerous lawsuits filed by former housekeepers, alleging abuse and underpayment.

In the first half of 2008, doctors removed a small colon polyp that proved to be benign
Benign
A benign tumor is a tumor that lacks the ability to metastasize. Common examples of benign tumors include moles and uterine fibroids.The term "benign" implies a mild and nonprogressive disease. Indeed, many kinds of benign tumors are harmless to human health...

.

Netanyahu became a grandfather on October 1, 2009, when his daughter Noa Netanyahu-Roth (married to Daniel Roth) gave birth to a boy, Shmuel. In 2011, Noa and her husband Daniel had a second son named David.

Books and articles


Books:

Through the years Netanyahu authored five books, three of which focus on counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

. The books he authored include:
  • International Terrorism: Challenge and Response (The Jonathon Institute, 1980) (ISBN 0-87855-894-2)
  • Terrorism: How the West Can Win (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1986) (ISBN 0-380-70321-1)
  • A Place Among the Nations (Bantam, 1993) (ISBN 0-553-08974-9)
  • Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism (Diane Pub Co, 1995) (ISBN 0-374-52497-1)
  • A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among the Nations (Warner Books, 2000) (ISBN 0-446-52306-2)


Articles:

External links


Official
Statements
Coverage
  • Netanyahu’s Fortification Plan
  • Demilitarized Palestinian State Meaning, context & implications, Reut Institution (a Think Tank
    Think tank
    A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

    )

Political campaign
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