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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gideon was a military leader, prophet, and judge whose victory over the Midianites are described in the Hebrew Bible. Like the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, Gideon's army of 300 valiant men is well-known for achieving a decisive victory over the Midianites despite a vast numerical disadvantage.
Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, a qualified lawyer, has been associated with organizations such as the Betar Jerusalem Sports Association. A supporter of the one-state solution to end the Israel–Palestine issue, he has previously made headlines for cancelling an Amir Benayoun show after the singer sang an anti-Arab track.
Deborah was an Israeli prophetess and a judge of Israel who made her judgments underneath a date palm tree between Bethel in the Tribe of Ephraim and Ramah in Benjamin. According to the Bible, Deborah was the only female judge in pre-monarchic Israel.
Yonatan Netanyahu was an Israel Defense Forces officer best remembered for commanding Sayeret Matkal, an elite commando unit, during Operation Entebbe. The operation, which was a planned mission to rescue hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, was successful. However, Yonatan Netanyahu was killed in action. His life and career inspired the 2012 film Follow Me.
Ariel Sharon was the Israeli prime minister from 2001 to 2006. As a commander of the Israeli Army, he had participated in the Palestine War of 1948 and the 1967 Six-Day War. He was removed as the defense minister after he led the massacre of Palestinians in the Lebanon War.
Jeroboam, son of Nebat, is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as someone who fought against Rehoboam, joining hands with the Israelite tribes. King Solomon had initially made him the superintendent of his tribesmen engaged in building fortresses. The Bible also mentions Jeroboam's constant conflict with Judah.
Yair Lapid is an Israeli politician who has been serving as the prime minister of Israel since June 2021. He is also the current Minister of Foreign Affairs in Israel. He is credited with founding the centrist Yesh Atid party. A former journalist, Lapid was also known for his skills as a writer before entering politics in 2012.
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak has also served as a minister of defense and foreign affairs. A talented pianist, he boasts of a degree from Stanford. Part of the Israeli Defense Forces since his younger days, he is one of the most decorated soldiers in the history of Israel.
Born to Holocaust survivors, Benny Gantz later soared through the ranks of the Israeli military, gaining the nickname The Prince. He founded Israel Resilience, which later merged into the Blue and White alliance. As the IDF’s chief of staff, he presided over the operations Pillar of Defence and Protective Edge.
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was held by Palestinian militants from 2006 to 2011 and thus became significant in the Israeli political scene. He was eventually released as part of a prisoner-exchange deal, mediated by Germany ad Egypt, which required the release of over 1,000 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.
Ish-bosheth reigned as the King of Israel from 1012 until his death in 1010 BCE. The son of King Saul, Ish-bosheth succeeded his father to become the second king of the Kingdom of Israel. His reign lasted only two years as Ish-bosheth was killed by two of his own army captains, Baanah and Rechab.
Jehoiakim reigned as the King of Judah from 609 to 598 BC. He ruled the kingdom as a vassal of the Egyptians. After the Egyptians' defeat at the battle of Carchemish, Jehoiakim changed allegiances and supported the Babylonians in order to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem.
A well-known human rights activist, Natan Sharansky not just campaigned for the rights of the Jews and spent 9 years in a prison in Siberia, but was also a chess prodigy, who was a champion at age 14. He has also penned books and won multiple awards.
Abba Eban was an Israeli politician and diplomat who took up many ministerial roles during his career. He served as Israel's education minister, foreign affairs minister, and deputy prime minister. He also served as an ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States. In 2001, he was honored with the prestigious Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.
Jeconiah reigned as the 19th King of Judah from 598 to 597 BCE. Jeconiah's reign of three months and ten days came to an end when Nebuchadnezzar II's army captured Jerusalem. Subsequently, Jeconiah and 3000 Jews were exiled to Babylon. This is seen as a significant event in the history of Israel as well as Babylon.
Moshe Katsav is an Israeli ex-politician who became the second Mizrahi Jew to serve as the President of Israel from 1 August 2000 until his resignation on 1 July 2007. Katsav resigned after allegations of sexual harassment from his female subordinates. In 2011, Moshe Katsav was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, of which he served five, at Maasiyahu Prison.
Jehoram of Judah reigned as the King of Judah from 849 BCE until his death in 842 BCE. He is generally depicted as a cruel man who killed his six brothers in order to secure his position as the King of Judah. He was succeeded by his son Ahaziah.
Amaziah of Judah was the King of Judah who reigned for 29 years; 24 years of his reign had his son Uzziah as co-regent. Amaziah of Judah is usually depicted as a righteous king who adhered strictly to the Law of Moses. His legacy revolves around his righteousness and his decision not to kill the children of his father's murderers.
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was a historian and Labor Zionist leader who served as the president of Israel from 1952 to 1963. His father was one of the organizers of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Ben-Zvi studied at Kiev University for one year before dropping out to co-found the Russian Poale Zion movement. He was awarded the Bialik Prize.
Ephraim Katzir was an Israeli politician and biophysicist. He is best remembered for his service as the President of Israel from 24 May 1973 to 29 May 1978. Ephraim Katzir, who served as the Israel Defense Forces' Chief Scientist from 1966 to 1968, made important contributions in the scientific field as well. He was the recipient of several prestigious awards.
Dan Shomron was a Israeli military commander who served as the Israel Defense Forces' Chief of Staff from 1987 to 1991. He is best remembered for planning and commanding Operation Entebbe, a hostage-rescue operation, in 1976. The operation was dramatized in a couple of films, including the 1977 film Raid on Entebbe, where Dan Shomron was played by Charles Bronson.