Israel's prime ministers

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February 7, 2006 14:16
3 minute read.

Ben Gurion, David (1886-1973). Born in Plonsk, Poland, and immigrated to Ottoman-controlled Palestine in 1906. Labor and Zionist leader. Israel's first prime minister on behalf of the Mapai Party (1948-1954 and 1955-63). Sharett, Moshe (1894-1965). Born in Russia, and immigrated in 1906. Head of the Jewish Agency Political Department 1933-48. Prime minister (Mapai), 1954-55. Eshkol, Levi (1895-1969). Born in Ukraine; immigrated in 1913. Labor leader active in the economic sphere. Minister of finance, 1952-63; prime minister (Mapai and the Labor Alignment), 1963-69. Meir (Meyerson) Golda (1898-1978). Born in Russia, raised in the US, and immigrated to British Mandatory Palestine in 1921. Active in the Histadrut; minister of labor, 1949-56; foreign minister, 1956-66; prime minister (Labor Alignment), 1969-74. Rabin, Yitzhak (1922-1995) Born in Jerusalem. Served in the Haganah, then the IDF, 1941-68; chief of General Staff 1964-68. Prime minister (Labor Alignment) 1974-77 and (Labor Party) 1992-95; defense minister, 1984-90 and 1992-95. Assassinated on November 4, 1995. Begin, Menachem (1913-1992). Born in Brest-Litovsk in Russia, and immigrated to Palestine in 1942. Leader of the Irgun underground movement, 1943-48. Leader of the Herut Movement and the Likud, 1948-1983. Minister without portfolio, 1967-70. Prime minister (Likud) 1977-1983. Shamir, Yitzhak Born in Poland in 1915 and immigrated to Palestine in 1935. One of the leaders of the Stern Gang underground movement, 1942-48. Served in the Mossad, 1955-65. Foreign minister 1980-3; prime minister (Likud) 1983-84 and 1986-1992. Peres, Shimon Born in Poland in 1923 and immigrated to Palestine in 1934. Served under Ben-Gurion and Eshkol in Defense Ministry. Minister of Immigration and Absorption 1969-70; transportation, 1970-74; information, 1974; defense, 1974-77 and 1995-96; foreign affairs 1986-88; finance, 1988-90; prime minister (Labor Alignment) 1984-86 and (Labor Party) 1995-96. Netanyahu, Binyamin Born in Tel-Aviv on October 21, 1949. In 1979 he initiated and organized the international conference against terrorism; 1982 - Deputy Chief of Mission in the Israeli Embassy; 1984 - Israel ambassador to the United Nations; 1988 - Deputy Foreign Minister in the 12th Knesset; 1992 - Following the Likud Party's defeat, Netanyahu decisively defeated three other candidates for Likud Party head; 1996 - Ousted Shimon Peres as Prime Minister in the election becoming the ninth and youngest Prime Minister of Israel. Barak, Ehud Born in 1942 in Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon. He joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1959, and served as a soldier and commander of an elite unit. In April 1983, Maj.Gen. Barak was appointed Head of the Intelligence Branch at the IDF General Headquarters. In April 1991, he assumed the post of the 14th Chief of the General Staff and was promoted to the rank of Lt. General, the highest in the Israeli military. He oversaw the IDF's redeployment in the Gaza Strip and Jericho following the Oslo Accords and played a central role in finalizing the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. He was Interior Minister in 1995 and Foreign Minister in 1996. He was elected Prime Minister in 1999 and was succeeded by Ariel Sharon in 2001 when he lost a snap election. Sharon, Ariel Born in 1928 in Kfar Malal. He served in the IDF for more than 25 years, retiring with the rank of Major-General. Sharon joined the Haganah at the age of 14. During the 1948 War of Independence, he commanded an infantry company in the Alexandroni Brigade. In 1953, he founded and led the "101" special commando unit. Sharon resigned from the army in 1973, but was recalled to active military service in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War to command an armored division. In 1981 Ariel Sharon was appointed Defense Minister, serving in this post during the Lebanon War, when he commanded the IDF in routing the PLO from Lebanon. From 1983-84, Sharon served as Minister without Portfolio, and from 1984-1990 as Minister of Trade and Industry. From 1990-1992, he was Minister of Construction and Housing and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Immigration and Absorption. In 1998 Ariel Sharon was appointed Foreign Minister. Following the election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister in 1999, he was elected Chairman of the Likud. He was elected Prime Minister in February 2001. Sharon also won the 2003 elections and in 2005 implemented the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria. On November 21, 2005, Sharon resigned as head of Likud, and dissolved parliament to form a new centre-right party called Kadima ("Forward"). On January 4, 2006, Sharon suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke, was declared "temporarily incapable of discharging his powers", and Ehud Olmert, the Deputy Prime Minister, was officially confirmed as the Acting Prime Minister of Israel. He still lies in a coma at Haddasah Hospital in Jerusalem.


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