Skip to Content

Benjamin Netanyahu Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Birth date: October 21, 1949

Birth place: Tel Aviv, Israel

Birth name: Binyamin Netanyahu

Father: Benzion Netanyahu, a historian

Mother: Cela (Segal) Netanyahu

Marriages: Sara Ben-Artzi (1991-present); Fleur Cates (1981-1988, divorced); Miriam Haran (divorced)

Children: with Sara Ben-Artzi: Avner and Yair; with Miriam Haran: Noa

Education: Attended Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., 1974, and M.S., 1976

Military service: Israeli Defense Forces, 1967-1972, Captain

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Leader of the right-wing Likud Party.

Is known throughout Israel by the nickname “Bibi.”

Spent his teenage years in the United States; went to high school in Philadelphia.

First Israeli prime minister to be born after the state was founded in 1948.

Netanyahu’s brother, Yonatan, was killed in action in 1976 while leading a mission to rescue Israeli passengers on a hijacked Air France plane.

Netanyahu organized two international conferences on ways to combat terrorism, one in 1979 and another in 1984.


1967-1972 – Serves in the Israeli Defense Forces in the elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal.

1976-1978 Works in the United States for Boston Consulting Group.

1982-1984 – Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

1984-1988 – Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

1988 Returns to Israel and wins a seat in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

1988-1991 Deputy foreign minister under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

1991-1992 Deputy Minister in the prime minister’s office.

1993 Is elected the Likud party chairman.

June 1996-July 1999 – Prime Minister of Israel.

September 1996 – Has first meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

October 23, 1998 – Arafat and Netanyahu sign the Wye Memorandum, an interim accord, exchanging land and power to secure Israel from political violence.

1999Following his defeat in the elections, Netanyahu resigns from the Knesset.

1999-2002 – Works in the private sector.

2002-2003 – Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2003-2005 – Minister of Finance.

August 2005 – Resigns in protest over the plan to withdraw Jewish settlers from Gaza and return their land to Palestinian control.

December 2005 – Is elected leader of the Likud party.

August 2007 – Is reelected.

February 10, 2009 – After the election, the results remain unclear as to who will become prime minister, Netanyahu or chief rival Tzipi Livni. Both make claims to the position.

February 19, 2009 – Wins backing from the Israeli parliament.

February 20, 2009Becomes the prime minister-designate and begins working on the formation of the new government.

March 31, 2009Is sworn in as prime minister.

September 1-2, 2010 – Attends a meeting in Washington hosted by US President Barack Obama to possibly restart peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Other leaders in attendance are Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

September 14, 2010 – Meets with Abbas in Egypt for second round of peace talks in two weeks. Also in attendance are US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Special Envoy to Middle East George Mitchell.

May 4, 2011 – Denounces the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in Egypt and calls on Abbas to “immediately cancel the reconciliation deal with Hamas and choose the path of peace with Israel.”

May 24, 2011 – Addresses a joint meeting of the US Congress. Netanyahu says that he is prepared to make “painful compromises” for a peace settlement with the Palestinians. However, he repeats that Israel will not accept a return to its pre-1967 boundaries.

June 13, 2012 – Israel releases a 153-page report criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of a raid against a Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010, where nine Turkish activists were killed.

September 27, 2012 – In an address to the United Nations, Netanyahu urges the General Assembly to draw “a clear red line” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

October 9, 2012 – Calls for an early election after failing to agree on a budget with his coalition partners.

October 9, 2012 – Israel’s parliament votes to dissolve itself and schedules an election for January 22, 2013.

January 22, 2013 – According to media exit polling, Netanyahu’s Likud Beitenu party wins 31 Knesset seats in the election. The Yesh Atid party, a new centrist movement, comes in a surprising second place with at least 19 seats.

March 24, 2013 – Apologizes to Turkey for the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla Mavi Marmara.

October 1, 2013 – In a speech at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu accuses Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and describes him as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.”

November 24, 2013Tells reporters that the Iran nuclear deal that world leaders reached with Tehran is a “historic mistake.”

April 27, 2014 – Tells CNN that Israel cannot negotiate with the government of Abbas while it is backed by Hamas, saying, “I call on President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas.”

September 29, 2014 – Warns delegates at the UN General Assembly not to overlook threats posed by Iran and Hamas in their zeal to defeat ISIS.

December 2, 2014 – Calls for the dismissal of two members of his coalition cabinet and announces he will call for the dissolution of the nation’s legislature.

March 18, 2015 Is reelected prime minister.

October 1, 2015 – Netanyahu says he is “prepared to immediately resume” direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority “without any preconditions whatsoever.” His remarks come a day after the leader of the Palestinian Authority said Palestinians are stepping away from the Oslo Accords.

October 20, 2015 – During a speech at the 37th Zionist Congress, Netanyahu says that Adolf Hitler “didn’t want to exterminate the Jews” but was urged to do so by Haj Amin al-Husseini, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem.

January 2, 2017 – Israeli authorities question Netanyahu for three hours. He is suspected of corruption related to benefits he allegedly received from businessmen. The prime minister denies the allegations, suggesting that there are political motives for the probe. In a Facebook post, Netanyahu lists the charges and says that investigators will find “nothing” to support each allegation.

February 13, 2018 – Israeli police announce there is “sufficient evidence” to indict Netanyahu on criminal charges in two corruption cases. According to a police statement, authorities found evidence of “accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust.” Netanyahu says the allegations against him will be dismissed.

March 2, 2018 – Netanyahu is questioned for five hours in Case 4000, which alleges he gave regulatory benefits worth up to 1 billion shekels (approximately $280 million) to his friend in exchange for favorable media coverage. This is the third case in which he has been named as a suspect. Police simultaneously interrogate Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, at a different location. Netanyahu proclaims his and his wife’s innocence in a Facebook video shortly after the interrogations conclude.

March 27-28, 2018 – Is hospitalized with a mild viral illness of the upper respiratory system, and released after a series of exams.

April 30, 2018 – During an address from the Israel Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu says Israel has evidence Iranian officials were lying when they said Iran wasn’t pursuing nuclear weapons and that the Islamic republic is keeping an “atomic archive” at a secret compound. The following day, IAEA spokesman Fredrik Dahl tells CNN that there are “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”

September 27, 2018 – Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu claims that Iran has a second “secret” nuclear facility and warehouse in Tehran. He offered no proof of the claim or details.

February 28, 2019 – Israel’s attorney general announces that Netanyahu will be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges stemming from three investigations, pending a hearing. The hearing is not expected to take place before April’s election, in which Netanyahu will seek a fifth term in office. Netanyahu responds by saying that the “left” has “exerted extraordinary pressure on the attorney general” in an attempt to “influence the elections and to crown a left-wing government.”

April 9, 2019 – Is elected to his fifth term as prime minister.

May 29, 2019 – Netanyahu fails to form a coalition government from the parties elected on April 9, the first time in Israel’s history that a general election has failed to produce a government.

July 20, 2019 – Netanyahu becomes the longest-serving leader in Israel’s history, surpassing the country’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s 4,875 days in office.

September 17, 2019 – Exit polls for the repeat general election fail to give either Netanyahu or former military chief Benny Gantz a majority in the new Parliament.

October 2, 2019 – Pre-indictment hearings begin in three criminal investigations against Netanyahu.

October 21, 2019 – Netanyahu fails to form a coalition government for the second time. Two days later, Gantz is given an official mandate by President Reuben Rivlin to try and form a ruling government coalition.

November 21, 2019 – Israel’s attorney general unveils charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust against Netanyahu in three separate corruption investigations.

December 26, 2019 – Retains leadership of political party Likud after a resounding victory over his challenger Gideon Sa’ar.

January 28, 2020 – Netanyahu is formally indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, shortly after withdrawing his request for parliamentary immunity, a request he was almost certain to lose.

March 2, 2020 – The Likud party wins 59 seats in the general election, but is three seats short to win a majority.

April 20, 2020 – Netanyahu and Gantz announce their agreement on the formation of a national emergency government, according to a joint statement.

May 17, 2020 – Netanyahu is sworn-in as Israel’s prime minister after his coalition government wins a vote of confidence by 73 votes to 46. Gantz is sworn-in as alternative prime minister and will replace Netanyahu as prime minister in November 2021.

September 15, 2020 Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump join the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House to mark historic normalization agreements between Israel and the two Arab countries. The agreements mark the first time such a ceremony has taken place in Washington since 1994, when President Bill Clinton looked on as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian King Hussein signed a declaration that paved the way for a peace deal months later.

December 19, 2020 – Netanyahu becomes the first sitting prime minister publicly known to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

December 23, 2020The seven-month-old emergency government collapses after the parliament fails to meet a deadline for passage of the 2020 and 2021 budgets.

June 13, 2021 – Netanyahu loses office for the first time in 12 years after rival Naftali Bennett wins a parliamentary vote to form a government.

October 5-6, 2022 – Is hospitalized after feeling ill while visiting a synagogue during Yom Kippur.

December 29, 2022 – Netanyahu is sworn in as prime minister, 18 months after he was ousted from power.

March 23, 2023 – Resists calls to drop his controversial overhaul of Israel’s judiciary in a fiery televised address, hours after his government passed a law that was condemned by critics as an effort to protect his position.

July 16, 2023 – Leaves the hospital after being admitted the previous day for dehydration amid a heat wave in Israel.

July 24, 2023 – Netanyahu leaves the hospital after being fitted with a pacemaker. Hours later, Israel’s parliament passes the controversial “reasonableness” bill, the first major legislation in the government’s plan to weaken the judiciary, despite six months of protests and American pressure against the most significant shakeup to the court system since the country’s founding.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Europe/Mideast/Africa

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content