bibi 2005 budget 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Binyamin Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv on October 21, 1949. After spending most of his youth in Jerusalem, a high-school aged Netanyahu moved to the Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, with his family, where his father Professor Benzion Netanyahu took a job as a history professor.
At age 18, Netanyahu returned to Israel to serve in the IDF in an elite commando unit (Sayeret Matkal), under former prime minister Ehud Barak. During the War of Attrition (1968-1970) against Egypt, Netanyahu participated in a number of important missions including the Beirut Airport operation and the rescue of hijacked Sabena Airlines hostages.
In 1972 he was discharged from the army, but returned to serve during the Yom Kippur War, after which he attained the rank of captain.
Following his army service Netanyahu returned to study in the US, graduating from MIT with a B.Sc. in Architecture and an M.Sc. in Management Studies. He also studied political science at MIT and Harvard University.
After briefly working as a business consultant in the US, Netanyahu returned to Israel and joined the senior management of Rim Industries in Jerusalem.
Three years after his brother Jonathan was killed in Entebbe while leading forces rescuing passengers of an Israeli jetliner hijacked by terrorists, Netanyahu initiated and organized an international conference against terrorism in 1979, under the auspices of the Jonathan Institute - a private anti-terrorism institute named after his brother. The conference was attended by eminent world leaders, including former US president George Bush and former US secretary of state George Shultz. The two also participated in a subsequent anti-terror conference organized by Netanyahu in 1984.
From 1982 Netanyahu served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Washington and played an active role in the first delegation to the talks of Israeli-US strategic cooperation. In 1984 he was appointed Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, in which position he served until 1988.
Upon returning to Israel in 1988, Netanyahu was elected to the 12th Knesset on the Likud mandate and was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister. In that position he served as Israel's chief international representative during the 1991 Gulf War and led the Israeli delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference, which initiated the first direct negotiations between Israel and Syria, Lebanon, and a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
Following the Likud Party's defeat in 1992 general elections, Netanyahu decisively defeated three other candidates for the Likud Party chairmanship on March 25, 1993.
Elected on May 29, 1996, Netanyahu became Israel 9th and youngest ever Prime Minister. In that position, he concluded the Hebron agreement and the Wye River plantation accords with the Palestinians, but failed to implement promised further redeployments when Palestinians reneged on their commitments to curb terror and incitement. In May 1999 Netanyahu he was defeated by Ehud Barak. In the 15th Knesset he served as Foreign Minister. He claims to have revived the economy while he served as Finance Minister in the 16th Knesset.
Since PM Ariel Sharon introduced his unilateral disengagement plan, Netanyahu disapproved of it, although he chiefly expressed his opposition by demanding a national referendum on the issue. Just weeks before the evacuations started Netanyahu quit the Knesset, in attempt to firmly align himself with the right-wing votership.
After Sharon defected from the Likud in late 2005, Netanyahu won chairmanship of the party and steered the party further to the right. His campaign for the 2006 election stresses the war on terrorism and stipulates Israeli concessions on Palestinian reciprocity.
Compiled by Joseph Flesh
Sources: Jerusalem Post archives, Knesset web site and Wikipedia.