Famous Israeli Political Leaders

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Perched on the eastern shore of Mediterranean sea, Israel has been locked in conflict ever since its independence in 1948. Much of the hullabaloo has been because Israel is considered holy land by the Jews, Christian and Muslim. Thus, the ownership of the land has been a matter of constant debate. The conflict with the Palestinians and neighbouring Arabs has dominated the politics of the country. Though the country does not have a written constitution, it follows a parliamentary system of government, with the Prime Minister as the executive head of the country. The political environment of Israel is marked by volatile coalition government. Ever since its independence, Israel has been ruled by skilled and efficient leaders, who have steered the country towards advancement and progress. Some of the popular Israeli political leaders who helped shaped the country’s magnificent present and future include David Ben-Gurion the country’s first Prime Minister followed by Moshe Sharett and Levi Eshkol. Other prominent leaders include Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, Yitzhak Shamir, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and current and third-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Browse through this section and discover some interesting life facts and works of Israeli political leaders.
Vote for Your Favourite Israeli Political Leaders
 1 
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Prime Minister)
Benjamin Netanyahu
18
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.

 2 
Golda Meir
(Former Prime Minister of Israel (1969 - 1974))
Golda Meir
6
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.

 3 
Shimon Peres
(Former President of Israel)
Shimon Peres
5
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.
 4 
David Ben-Gurion
(Former Prime Minister of Israel)
David Ben-Gurion
15
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.
 5 
Moshe Dayan
(Israeli Military & Political Leader)
Moshe Dayan
5
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.

 6 
Reuven Rivlin
(10th President of Israel)
Reuven Rivlin
4
Birthdate: September 9, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

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.

 7 
Naftali Bennett
(13th Prime Minister of Israel)
Naftali Bennett
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
 8 
Ariel Sharon
(Prime Minister of Israel)
Ariel Sharon
7
Birthdate: February 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: British Mandate of Palestine
Died: January 11, 2014

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.

 9 
Jeroboam
(King)
Jeroboam
3
Birthplace: United Kingdom of Israel
Died: 0910 BC

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.

 10 
Yair Lapid
(Journalist, Writer, Politician, Actor, Television presenter)
Yair Lapid
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tel Aviv

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.

 11 
Benny Gantz
(Alternate Prime Minister of Israel)
Benny Gantz
4
Birthdate: June 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kfar Ahim, 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.

 12 
Ehud Barak
(10th Prime Minister of Israel)
Ehud Barak
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mishmar HaSharon kibbutz, Israel

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.

 13 
Avigdor Lieberman
(politician)
Avigdor Lieberman
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chișinău, Moldova
 14 
Ehud Olmert
(Politician, Lawyer)
Ehud Olmert
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Binyamina
Ehud Olmert had a decade-long stint as the mayor of Jerusalem, before he became the prime minister of Israel. A qualified lawyer, he has also served the Israel Defense Forces. He supported the two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He eventually got a 6-year sentence for a bribing scandal.
Herod Archelaus
3
Birthdate: 0023 BC
Died: 0018 AD
 16 
Chaim Herzog
(6th President of Israel)
Chaim Herzog
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
Died: April 17, 1997
Chaim Herzog was an Irish-born Israeli politician, author, and lawyer. He is best remembered for his service as the sixth President of Israel from 5 May 1983 to 13 May 1993. Chaim Herzog was part of the Israel Defence Forces, where he achieved the rank of major-general, and played an important role during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
 17 
Ish-bosheth
3
Birthdate: 1052 BC
Died: 1010 BC

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.

 18 
Jehoiakim
(king)
Jehoiakim
3
Birthdate: 0634 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: 0598 BC

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.

 19 
Abba Eban
(Politician and Diplomat)
Abba Eban
3
Birthdate: February 2, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cape Town
Died: November 17, 2002

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.

 20 
Ezer Weizman
(Politician, Officer, Fighter pilot, Aviator)
Ezer Weizman
3
Birthdate: June 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tel Aviv
Died: April 24, 2005
 21 
Jeconiah
(King)
Jeconiah
3
Birthdate: 0615 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

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.

 22 
Yitzhak Shamir
(Prime Minister of Israel (1983 - 1984, 1986 - 1992))
Yitzhak Shamir
3
Birthdate: October 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ružany, Belarus
Died: June 30, 2012
Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir previously led the Zionist group Lehi. He lost his parents and sisters to the Holocaust and later changed his last name from "Yezernitsky" to "Shamir," to match the surname on his forged ID card. He had also joined the Mossad later.
 23 
Natan Sharansky
(Politician, Writer, Mathematician, Human rights activist)
Natan Sharansky
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Donetsk

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.

 24 
Levi Eshkol
(Politician)
Levi Eshkol
3
Birthdate: October 25, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orativ
Died: February 26, 1969
 25 
Tzipi Livni
(Politician, Lawyer, Diplomat, Manager)
Tzipi Livni
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tel Aviv
 26 
Moshe Sharett
(2nd Prime Minister of Israel)
Moshe Sharett
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kherson, Ukraine
Died: July 7, 1965
 27 
Yigal Allon
(Politician, Military personnel)
Yigal Allon
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kfar Tavor
Died: February 29, 1980
 28 
Moshe Katsav
(President , Politician )
Moshe Katsav
3
Birthdate: December 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yazd

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.

 29 
George Habash
(Founder of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)
George Habash
3
Birthdate: August 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lod
Died: January 26, 2008
George Habash, also known as al-Hakim, was a Palestinian leader who established the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After fleeing Palestine following the formation of the State of Israel, he studied medicine in Beirut. He battled with cancer in his final days and died at age 81.
 30 
Isser Harel
(spy, politician, writer)
Isser Harel
3
Birthdate: 1912 AD
Birthplace: Vitebsk
Died: February 18, 2003
 31 
Jehoram
(King of Judah)
Jehoram
2
Birthdate: 0881 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: 0842 BC

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. 

 32 
Tzipi Hotovely
(Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom Since 2020)
Tzipi Hotovely
2
Birthdate: December 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rehovot, Israel
 33 
Amaziah of Judah
2
Birthdate: 0802 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: 0776 BC

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.

 34 
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
(2nd President of Israel (1952 - 1963) )
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
3
Birthdate: November 24, 1884
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Poltava, Ukraine
Died: April 23, 1963

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. 

 35 
Nir Barkat
(Politician, Entrepreneur, Businessperson)
Nir Barkat
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jerusalem
 36 
Miri Regev
(Politician, Spokesperson, Officer)
Miri Regev
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kiryat Gat
 37 
Meir Amit
(Politician)
Meir Amit
2
Birthdate: March 17, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tiberias, Israel
Died: July 17, 2009
 38 
Yitzhak Navon
(5th President of Israel)
Yitzhak Navon
2
Birthdate: April 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: November 6, 2015
 39 
Aryeh Deri
(Politician)
Aryeh Deri
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Meknes
 40 
Danny Danon
(Politician)
Danny Danon
2
Birthdate: May 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ramat Gan
 41 
Zalman Shazar
(3rd President of Israel)
Zalman Shazar
2
Birthdate: November 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mir
Died: October 5, 1974
Zalman Shazar was an Israeli poet, author, and politician. He is best remembered for his service as the President of Israel from 21 May 1963 to 24 May 1973; he served as the president for two consecutive terms. Also an important writer, Zalman Shazar was honored with the prestigious Bialik Prize for literature in 1966.
 42 
Teddy Kollek
(Politician)
Teddy Kollek
2
Birthdate: May 27, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nagyvázsony, Hungary
Died: January 2, 2007
 43 
Leah Rabin
(Yitzhak Rabin's wife)
Leah Rabin
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kaliningrad, Russia
Died: November 12, 2000
 44 
Haneen Zoabi
(Palestinian-Israeli Politician Who Served as a Member of the Knesset from 2009 to 2019)
Haneen Zoabi
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nazareth, Israel

Haneen Zoabi is an Israeli Arab politician. She is credited with co-founding a non-governmental organization called I'lam – Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel. She served as the general director of the NGO before resigning to concentrate on her political career.

 45 
Elazar Shach
(Political leader)
Elazar Shach
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vabalninkas, Lithuania
Died: November 2, 2001
 46 
Shaul Mofaz
(Politician, Officer)
Shaul Mofaz
2
Birthdate: November 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran
 47 
Arcadi Gaydamak
(Businessperson, Politician)
Arcadi Gaydamak
0
Birthdate: April 8, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
 48 
Rafael Eitan
(Deputy Prime Minister of Israel (1996 – 1999))
Rafael Eitan
0
Birthdate: January 11, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Afula, Mandatory Palestine
Died: November 23, 2004

Rafael Eitan was an Israeli general who served as the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 1978 to 1983. He then went on to become a politician, serving in various ministerial positions between 1990 and 1999. Rafael Eitan also served as the Deputy Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999.

 49 
Shulamit Aloni
(Politician)
Shulamit Aloni
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tel Aviv–Yafo, Israel
Died: January 24, 2014
 50 
Tommy Lapid
(Serbian-Born Israeli Journalist and Politician)
Tommy Lapid
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Novi Sad, Serbia
Died: June 1, 2008

Serbian-born Israeli politician Yosef Lapid started his career as a print and broadcast journalist who went on to win the prestigious Sokolov Award. He then focused on politics and joined the Zionist Shinui party, before switching to the Secular Faction. He also served as Israel’s deputy prime minister and minister of justice.