Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין “בִּיבִּי” נְתַנְיָהוּ , Arabic: بنيامين نتنياهو, Binyyameen Netanyahu; born 21 October 1949) is an Israeli leader and the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.
For those around the world who incline to discern a warrior, if not a warmonger, in every Israeli leader, it might come as a surprise to learn that this was the first time in a total of seven years as Prime Minister that Netanyahu had publicly authorised military action. And while that might in part reflect the passing of Israel’s first generation of warrior leaders, the relative stability of Israel’s borders over those years, and the chance timing of his return to the premiership – after Israel completed its controversial Gaza offensive, Operation Cast Lead – it also says something about the man.
Indeed, on military matters, as on much else, he has always been cautious throughout his near 40-year career, always preferring a technocratic and economic approach to one that entails the use of force. It would be easy, though probably wrong, to suggest that he was put off all things military by the loss of his elder brother, Jonathan (Yonno) – the commander and the only military casualty of the now legendary Entebbe raid. But the truth is that by his late teens, Benjamin Netanyahu’s life was already taking another course – and one that could have taken him far from his native Israel.