Netanyahu previously served as interior minister (1994-1996) and Jewish National Fund (JNF) president (1981-1994).
The 63-year-old Netanyahu has held number one positions in the Jewish state and consistently maintained an icy relationship with his country’s neighbours, including the Palestinians. He also came under fire for suppressing a genocide commission in Israel amid regional turmoil in 2008 and blocked an official inquiry into his handling of a 2006 war in Lebanon in 2008.
Netanyahu ran for the office of prime minister in 1999 and then again in 1999. He was disqualified for the second time in 2000 and was supported in the following election by his National Union party but didn’t make it to the parliament.
In 2001 he helped form the conservative Likud party, which now governs with a series of smaller factions. Netanyahu was returned to the office of prime minister in the 22nd general election in March 2009. He took over as finance minister in 2013 and he is now serving his third term as prime minister.
Netanyahu’s political persona was forged at the University of Chicago in the 1970s when he joined a progressive students’ organisation that included an intellectual alias, Benjamin Blaine, and held a title as co-editor of the student newspaper, The Chicago Voice. In 2006, the Benjamin Blaine disguise was revealed and he made a public apology.
Netanyahu graduated with a degree in economics and liberal arts from the Ivy League university in 1974 and has maintained high standing with many of its alumni over the years. Over the years, Israel’s domestic issues have rarely been ignored by the media and the mainstream editorial culture there have often pondered his character and worldview.