Benjamin Netanyahu was born 21 October 1949, is the current Prime Minister of Israel. Netanyahu also currently serves as a member of the Knesset and Chairman of the Likud party. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to secular Jewish parents, Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the state.
Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit. Netanyahu took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder. Netanyahu fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory. Netanyahu achieved the rank of captain before being discharged.
Now in his fourth term as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has shown little interest in veering from the hardline security stances long associated with his name. In November his government brushed off proposed peace talks to be held in France, and the country continues to maintain a precarious relationship with its Palestinian neighbors following a 2014 50-day war against Hamas in Gaza that resulted in over 2,000 deaths.
Netanyahu faced sharp international criticism for the conflict, as he has for Israel’s disputed settlements in the West Bank, but his positions are unwavering–and with a supportive American president entering office, there will be little reason to bend. Though politics remain turbulent in his tiny Middle East country of 8 million people, innovation continues to thrive. Israel is dubbed “startup nation” and boasts the highest number of startups per capita in the world.