What a difference a decade or so can make (or not)

As Netanyahu looks toward another stint as PM, photos show him to have changed far less than his political rivals... at least on the outside.

netanyahu 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
netanyahu 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Almost a decade after he was voted out of the Prime Minister's Office, a trawl through the photo archives of the The Jerusalem Post shows Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to be the least changed, on the outside, of the quartet of Israel's current key political players. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is a remade man from the bespectacled figure of 10 years ago. His successor as Kadima leader (but not, it now appears, as prime minister), Tzipi Livni, changed haircuts at least four times in the intervening years. Israel Beiteinu's king-making Avigdor Lieberman is far lighter on his feet. But Netanyahu looks much the same, albeit having put on and taken off weight intermittently. Olmert, 63 (upper left), began his career as a lawyer and at the tender age of 28 was already in the Knesset. The photos clearly show the way he matured and became more sophisticated. In the early 90s he was a cross between a hippie and a nerd, but as a decade went by he traded in his glasses and wardrobe for a more elegant style. He also made peace with his hair. He works out regularly and still cuts a trim figure. It's clear that Livni, 50 (upper right), cares about her coiffure, and during her relatively rapid political ascent has done so with flair. The first photo is from 1999 and she looks messy, indicating that even national leaders have bad hair days. In 2001, she joined the global curl movement but quickly came to understand that it wasn't the look of ambition. Her roots show that, like Olmert, she's a redhead. She definitely loves fashion, although as we saw during the recent election campaign, she knows to stay away from presumptuousness. In the late 90s, Lieberman (lower left) was widely regarded as an intimidating political horse trader - with a look to match. Today, at 50, his wardrobe and grooming habits are much more elegant and meticulous. He plays tennis and has slimmed down. What has not changed, though, is his hair, and now that he heads the third largest faction in the Knesset, perhaps it's time to consider a new look. Aside from going completely white, Netanyahu, 59 (lower right), has changed little since exploding onto the political scene some two decades ago. The photos from 1990, 1996 and 2005 show the same man, although the weight has see-sawed up and down. (As he himself occasionally says, his biggest challenge is his waistline.) He has always excelled at assembling wardrobes that suit the times. Now we'll get to see whether he has similar talents in tailoring a coalition.