Benjamin Netanyahu was born in 1949 in Tel Aviv and grew up in Jerusalem. He spent his high school years in the US, where his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, was doing research. Returning to Israel in 1967, Mr. Netanyahu enlisted in the IDF and served in an elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. He took part in a number of military operations, including the rescue of hostages in a high-jacked Sabena airplane in 1972. In 1982 Mr. Netanyahu assumed the position of deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1984 he was appointed Israel's ambassador to the UN, a position in which he served for four years.
Returning to Israel in 1988, Mr. Netanyahu was elected to the Knesset on the Likud party list and was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the Gulf War he served as Israel's principal representative in the international arena. In 1991, he was a senior member of the Israeli delegation to the Madrid peace conference and as such, participated in the first strategic cooperation program between Israel and the US. In 1993 Mr. Netanyahu was elected Likud party chairman and served as head of opposition until his election to Prime Minister of Israel in 1996.
After the completion of his term as Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu served as a business consultant to Israeli high-tech companies and was a popular speaker on the global lecture circuit. In 2002 Mr. Netanyahu returned to politics, first as Minister of Foreign Affairs and then, in the course of 2003, as Minister of Finance. He again was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 2009.