Israeli

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The first name that comes to your mind at the mention of Israel might be the beautiful supermodel, Bar Rafaeli, but Israel is more than just a sea of pretty faces! Israelis are known to be intelligent, witty and astute people and that is why their nation has the highest standard of living among the countries in the Middle East. Whatever lifestyles the Israelis follow, they are definitely doing something right for this nation boasts of having one of the world’s longest life expectancies. When intelligent, hard working and long-living people live in a country they contribute not just towards the building of their own nation, but also towards the world.

Vote For Your Favourite Israeli Personality
 1 
Natalie Portman
(American Actress Known for Her Films: 'Closer', 'Black Swan' and as 'Jane Foster' in 'Thor' Movies)
Natalie Portman
98
Birthdate: June 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

Debuting at the age of thirteen, Israeli American actress Natalie Portman is today one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. Her movie list is impressive with successful projects like Black SwanJackie, Star Wars, Closer and Thor. While pursuing her passion for acting, the Academy award winning actress also ensured to complete her studies and graduated from Harvard University.

 2 
Bar Refaeli
(Israeli Model, Businesswoman and Actress Who Hosted ‘The X Factor Israel’)
Bar Refaeli
19
Birthdate: June 4, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hod Hasharon, Israel
One of the highest-paid Israeli models, Bar Refaeli topped Maxim’s Hot 100 in 2012 and has worked for GQ and Elle. She has also hosted Germany's Next Top Model, The X Factor Israel, and the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. She faced criticism for avoiding Israel’s mandatory military service recruitment.
 3 
Solomon
(King of Israel)
Solomon
9
Birthdate: 0990 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0931 BC
Also known as Jedidiah, Israeli king Solomon, known for his wisdom, is a figure that appears in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, the Quran, and Hadiths. He ruled over the United Monarchy. His sins such as idolatry and marrying foreign women led to the disintegration of his kingdom.
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 4 
Mary Magdalene
(Disciple of Jesus Who was a Witness to His Crucifixion and Resurrection)
Mary Magdalene
19
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Magdala, Israel

Mary Magdalene was an important biblical figure. It is said that she witnessed many of Jesus' miracles and life events, including his crucifixion and the subsequent resurrection. Since it is claimed that Magdalene was a prostitute, she has been viewed as the patroness of wayward women in the modern era. Her life has inspired several important works of art.

 5 
Gene Simmons
(Bassist and Co-lead Singer of Hard Rock Band 'Kiss')
Gene Simmons
18
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel

Co-founder of the rock band Kiss, Gene Simmons is also known by his stage persona, The Demon.  With his band, he has over 25 gold-certified albums. A devoted philanthropist, he has donated to charities related to underprivileged children. He created an animated series and owns a magazine and a label.

 6 
David Ben-Gurion
(Former Prime Minister of Israel)
David Ben-Gurion
5
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Płonsk, Poland
Died: December 1, 1973
David Ben-Gurion was the founder of the State of Israel and also served as Israel’s first prime minister. He was the leader of the Jews in British Mandate Palestine and had also been the country’s defense minister and the chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel.
 7 
Saint Joseph
(Saint and Legal Father of Jesus)
Saint Joseph
13
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0030 BC
Birthplace: Bethlehem
Died: 0020 AD
Famous as the patron of the universal church in Roman Catholicism, Saint Joseph was married to Mary and was the guardian or foster father of JesusJoseph is revered as Saint Joseph in the Oriental Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and the Orthodox Church. Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of workers, in Catholic traditions.
 8 
David
(King of Israel from 1010 to 970 BCE)
David
0
Birthdate: 1040 AD
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Israel
Died: 0970 AD

King David of Israel remains a significant figure not just in Christianity, but also in Judaism and Islam. The Books of Samuel describe him as a shepherd. Legends also mention how he killed the giant Goliath and had an affair with Bathsheba. He was also a poet and a psalmist.

 9 
Inbar Lavi
(Actress)
Inbar Lavi
11
Birthdate: October 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ramat Gan, Israel

Inbar Lavi is an Israeli actress best known for her performance in the American comedy-drama TV series Underemployed. Lavi is also credited with playing important roles on other American TV series like Gang Related, Prison Break, and Lucifer. Her popularity increased when she landed the lead role in the dark comedy television series Imposters where she played Maddie.

 10 
Golda Meir
(Former Prime Minister of Israel (1969 - 1974))
Golda Meir
14
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: December 8, 1978

Born in present-day Ukraine and brought up in the United States, the phenomenal rise of Golda Meir to become the prime minister of Israel was driven by her sheer leadership qualities. She steered her country amid hostilities from its neighbourhood during her eventful term as premier which also saw the Yom Kippur War. She is remembered as a strong-willed woman.

 11 
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Prime Minister)
Benjamin Netanyahu
43
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

The current Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Israel. Before becoming a politician, Netanyahu had a prolific military career; he played important roles in the Yom Kippur War and the War of Attrition and participated in missions, such as Operation Isotope and Operation Gift.

 12 
Amar'e Stoudemire
(American-Israeli Professional Basketball Coach and Former Player)
Amar'e Stoudemire
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 16, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lake Wales, Florida, United States

Known as much for his basketball skills, as for his towering 6’10” height, Amar'e Stoudemire has played for major teams such as the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns. An Olympic bronze medal winner, he now coaches the NBA team Brooklyn Nets. He also founded the Each One, Teach One foundation.

 13 
Odeya Rush
(Actress & Model)
Odeya Rush
6
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: May 12, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel

Odeya Rush is an Israeli model and actress best known for playing lead roles in American films like The Giver, The Bachelors, and Let It Snow. In 2016, Rush was honored at the Young Artist Awards with the Best Performance in a Feature Film award. In 2017, she received the Awards Circuit Community Award for her performance in Lady Bird.

 14 
Daniel Kahneman
(Winner of 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for His Work on the Psychology of Judgment and Decision-Making)
Daniel Kahneman
6
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.

 15 
Moshe Dayan
(Israeli Military & Political Leader)
Moshe Dayan
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Degania Alef, Israel
Died: October 16, 1981

Born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, military leader/politician Moshe Dayan, grew up to be an revered for his exploits against Israel’s Arab neighbors. His invasion of the Sinai peninsula is etched in his memoir, Diary of the Sinai Campaign. Following his death, his eye patch was sold on eBay for US$75,000.

 16 
Eli Cohen
(Egyptian-born Israeli Spy)
Eli Cohen
9
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 26, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: May 18, 1965
Israeli spy Eli Cohen is remembered for his espionage activities from 1961 to 1965 in Syria, where he served as the chief advisor to the defense minister. He was eventually convicted and publicly hanged. His story later inspired the Netflix miniseries The Spy and the TV film The Impossible Spy.
 17 
Shimon Peres
(Former President of Israel)
Shimon Peres
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 2, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wiszniew, Poland
Died: September 28, 2016
Shimon Peres had been both the president and prime minister of Israel (twice). He was also part of five political parties in his 70-year career and had held important cabinet posts such as the minister of finance. He won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
 18 
Jude the Apostle
(One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament)
Jude the Apostle
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0001 AD
Birthplace: Galilee, Israel
Died: 0062 AD
 19 
Yael Grobglas
(French-Israeli Actress Best Known for Her Roles as 'Petra Solano' in the TV Seies 'Jane the Virgin')
Yael Grobglas
6
Birthdate: May 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Yael Grobglas is an Israeli actress known for her performance in the popular American satirical telenovela Jane the Virgin. After appearing in a couple of Israeli films, Grobglas achieved international recognition when she played Shir in a horror film titled Rabies. She then established herself in the American TV and film industry by appearing in projects like Jane the Virgin.

 20 
Yitzhak Rabin
(5th Prime Minister of Israel)
Yitzhak Rabin
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
Died: November 4, 1995

Israeli politician, statesman, and general, Yitzhak Rabin, served two stints as the prime minister of Israel. As a young man, he joined the military and served for nearly three decades. He had an extensive political career as well and played a key role in embracing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He was assassinated in November 1995.

 21 
Melchizedek
(Priest and King of Salem)
Melchizedek
2

Melchizedek was the priest and king of Salem. He is mentioned in the Book of Genesis and is the first person to be given the title priest in the Hebrew Bible. Melchizedek is considered an important figure in Christianity and Judaism.

 22 
Oded Fehr
(Stage actor, Film actor)
Oded Fehr
6
Birthdate: November 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venezuela

Oded Fehr is an Israeli actor best known for playing Ardeth Bay in the 1999 film The Mummy. Fehr went on to reprise his role in the 2001 sequel The Mummy Returns. His portrayal of Ardeth earned him similar roles in films like Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Over the years, he has also established himself as a TV actor in America.

 23 
Itzhak Perlman
(Israeli-American Violinist, Conductor, and Music Teacher)
Itzhak Perlman
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
A bout of polio at age 4 left Itzhak Perlman’s legs paralyzed but could not deter his spirit. The Juilliard alumnus has won 16 Grammys and the coveted Leventritt Prize for his phenomenal compositions. He has also served as a conductor for Detroit Symphony and orchestras. 
 24 
Hillel Slovak
(Musician)
Hillel Slovak
4
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
Died: June 25, 1988
 25 
Benny Hinn
(Israeli Christian Televangelist and Host of the TV Show ‘This Is Your Day’)
Benny Hinn
23
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jaffa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn gained fame with his Miracle Crusades held in stadiums across major cities and broadcast worldwide on his show This Is Your Day. He incorrectly predicted twice that the world would end. He has also authored several books, such as Lord, I Need a Miracle.

 26 
Ethan Klein
(You Tube Star)
Ethan Klein
10
Listed In: YouTubers
Birthdate: June 24, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ventura, California
Ethan Klein is best known as part the duo h3h3Productions, along with his Israeli wife, Hila Klein. The couple has a popular YouTube channel that showcases their sketch-comedy pieces. They also own a podcast and a clothing company and are part of the h3h3 Character Pack of Payday 2.
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem
5
Birthdate: 1161 AD
Birthplace: Kingdom of Jerusalem
Died: March 16, 1185

Though seriously hindered by leprosy, Baldwin IV, who came to power at the age of 13, was successful in defending his Jerusalem kingdom during his nearly 11-year rule. His reign was marked by his confrontations with Saladin, the ruler of Egypt and Syria. Also known as The Leper King, Baldwin slowed Saladin’s military campaigns. He was succeeded by his nephew.

 28 
Jezebel
(Queen Consort of Northern Israel)
Jezebel
2
Birthdate: 0900 BC
Birthplace: Israel
Died: November 30, 0841

Jezebel was the wife of the King of Israel, Ahab. Jezebel is credited with introducing the worship of Asherah and Baal on a national scale. She also purged the prophets of Yahweh, for which she is often associated with false prophets. An important cultural symbol, Jezebel is also associated with promiscuity and fallen women.

 29 
Ronen Rubinstein
(best known for his roles as Nathan in the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black)
Ronen Rubinstein
4
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: November 7, 1993
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rehovot, Israel
 30 
Bathsheba
(Queen consort of Israel)
Bathsheba
1
Birthdate: 1009 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0937 BC

The wife of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba was bathing on her roof when David saw her and had her brought to him. He then got Uriah killed and married Bathsheba. David and Bathsheba’s first child died as a punishment for his sins. She was also the mother of King Solomon.

 31 
Chaim Topol
9
Birthdate: September 9, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tel Aviv
Israeli actor Chaim Topol is best known for his Golden Globe-winning titular role in Sallah Shabati. He began his career with Israeli theater and later co-founded Haifa Theatre. He also earned an Academy Award nomination and won a Golden Globe for playing Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof.
 32 
Jonah
(Former prophet in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran, from Gath-hepher of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BCE)
Jonah
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Nineveh, Iraq

The Book of Jonah of the Old Testament talks about Jonah, the prophet. Jonah apparently set sail to Tarshish instead of listening to God and traveling to Nineveh to warn its citizens of God’s wrath due to its wickedness. However, shipwrecked, he eventually ends up warning Nineveh of the impending danger.

 33 
Abraham
(Religious Leader)
Abraham
0
Birthplace: Ur Kaśdim, Mesopotamia

Abraham is an important historical character, considered one of the fathers of the human race by the Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Abrahamic religions believe that Abraham was in contact with God; his story and life events have inspired several important paintings, sculptures, works of literature, and music.

 34 
Andrew the Apostle
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Birthplace: Galilee, Israel
Died: November 30, 0060
 35 
Netta Barzilai
(Israeli Singer)
Netta Barzilai
14
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 22, 1993
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hod HaSharon, Israel

Eurovision Contest-winning Israeli artist Netta Barzilai won hearts with her track Toy, a song that spoke of women empowerment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she experimented with a podcast and performances from the balcony of her Tel Aviv apartment. She also performed the track Cuckoo for an online Eurovision event.

 36 
Uri Geller
(Magician)
Uri Geller
2
Birthdate: December 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tel Aviv
Illusionist, magician, and psychic Uri Geller is best known for his spoon-bending skills, which he has highlighted on many TV shows. He has also acted in the horror film Sanitarium. He has attributed his powers to aliens. He, however, failed to bend spoons on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
 37 
Adam Neumann
(Businessman, Investor and Co-Founder of ‘WeWork’)
Adam Neumann
4
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: April 25, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Adam Neumann is an Israeli-American businessman. He is credited with co-founding the popular commercial real estate company, WeWork, which he established in 2010 alongside his wife Rebekah Neumann and Miguel McKelvey. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Adam Neumann had aspirations like becoming the first trillionaire, living forever, and becoming president of the world.

 38 
Alona Tal
(Israeli Actress and Singer)
Alona Tal
2
Birthdate: October 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Herzliya, Israel

Alona Tal is an Israeli actress known for playing supporting roles in popular American TV series like Veronica Mars and Supernatural. Tal is also known for her singing skills; she has recorded a song with popular Haitian rapper and musician Wyclef Jean. She has also appeared in several American films like Half Past Dead 2, Broken City, and Opening Night.

 39 
Keren Peles
(Singer)
Keren Peles
7
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: March 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yavne'el, Israel

Keren Peles is an Israeli pianist, singer-songwriter, and poet. Over the course of her songwriting career, Peles has contributed immensely to the success of other popular singers like Shiri Maimon and Miri Mesika by writing the lyrics of some of their hit songs. She has also found success as a singer as many of her albums have been certified gold.  

 40 
Daniel Barenboim
(Pianist, Conductor, Music director)
Daniel Barenboim
5
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: November 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buenos Aires

Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor currently serving as the general music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He has previously been the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, and La Scala in Milan. He is a recipient of Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Award among others.

 41 
Ayelet Zurer
(Actor, Model, Stage actor)
Ayelet Zurer
1
Birthdate: June 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tel Aviv

Ayelet Zurer is an Israeli actress best known for playing the female lead in the American mystery thriller film Angels & Demons. A celebrated actress in Israel, Zurer has won many prestigious awards, such as the Israeli Film Academy Award and Israeli Television Academy Awards. In 2003, she was honored with the Best Actress award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

 42 
Ralph Bakshi
(Director of Animated Films)
Ralph Bakshi
1
Birthdate: October 29, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haifa
Animation filmmaker Ralph Bakshi revolutionized the domain of animation through adult-oriented projects. He started his career with Terrytoons and eventually launched his own studio. Some of his features include Fritz the Cat, the 1978 version of The Lord of the Rings, and the series Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
 43 
Matthew the Apostle
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Nazareth, Israel
Died: 0074 AD
 44 
Nas Daily
(Video blogger)
Nas Daily
12
Birthdate: February 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arraba, Israel Arraba, Israel

Israeli-Arab travel vlogger Nuseir Yassin, better known to netizens as Nas Daily, has gained global fame with his 1000 daily one-minute Facebook and YouTube videos. His vlogs cover everything from luxury resorts to villages. He has also launched NAS Academy to train upcoming vloggers and video creators.

 45 
Deni Avdija
(Basketball player)
Deni Avdija
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 3, 2001
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Beit Zera, Israel

Being the son of basketball player and coach Zufer Avdija, Israeli-Serbian small forward Deni Avdija was destined to excel in the sport. The Washington Wizards player is known for his towering 6’9” frame. Beginning his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he later won 2 FIBA U20 European Championship golds for Israel.

 46 
Menachem Begin
(Former Prime Minister of Israel)
Menachem Begin
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 16, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brest
Died: March 9, 1992

Menachem Begin was an Israeli politician who served as the sixth Prime Minister of Israel. In this position, he signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, for which he and Egyptian politician Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel Prize for Peace. He implemented several reforms to improve the socio-economic condition of Israeli citizens and improve the general quality of life.

 47 
John The Baptist
(Jewish Prophet and Christian Saint)
John The Baptist
10
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Herodian Tetrarchy, Roman Empire
Died: 0030 AD

John the Baptist was a 1st century AD Jewish preacher. The Gospels mention John as the forerunner of Jesus, as John announces Jesus's arrival and Jesus describes him as “Elijah who is to come.” It is also believed that John had baptized Jesus. John was eventually beheaded by Herod Antipas.

 48 
Ofra Haza
(Singer, Voice actor, Actor, Composer, Journalist, Pianist, Songwriter)
Ofra Haza
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: November 19, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tel Aviv
Died: February 23, 2000

Ofra Haza was an Israeli actress and singer who achieved great popularity in the Western world where she came to be known as the Madonna of the East. An influential cultural figure in Israel, Ofra Haza played a major role in popularizing the Mizrahi culture. During her illustrious singing career, Haza earned several gold and platinum discs.

 49 
Josiah
(King of Judah)
Josiah
2
Birthdate: 0648 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0609 BC
Josiah, whose name means Healed of the Lord, became the king of Judah at the tender age of 8. Apart from compiling major Hebrew scriptures, Josiah destroyed all pagan placed of worship. Though he isn’t mentioned anywhere apart from the Bible, historians believe he very much existed.
 50 
Mary, Mother of Jesus
(Mother of Jesus)
Mary, Mother of Jesus
9
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 8, 0018
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nazareth

The mother of Jesus Christ and the wife of Joseph, Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, finds mention in both the New Testament and the Quran. Though most Catholic scholars believe in traditional Marian dogmas, Protestants have often argued, questioning ideas such as the Assumption of Mary.

Israel has been considered a sacred place since the Biblical times and her population is primarily Jewish. The country has a rich cultural heritage but has unfortunately been plagued by political upheavals and turmoil over the past several centuries. Yet Israelis are resilient and bounce back to give the world their very best.  The nation is very advanced when it comes to research and technology. Six Israelis, including Dan Shechtman have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry within a single decade! Literary geniuses like Yehuda Amichai, Nathan Alterman and Amos Oz have been born in Israel. Read on to learn more about famous Israelis.