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Milestones of Benjamin Netanyahu’s political rise and fall

From becoming Israel’s youngest-ever prime minister to becoming its longest-serving one, the ups and downs of the Likud leader ousted from power on Sunday

Benjamin Netanyahu attends a tour of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on October 23, 2007. (Michal Fattal/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu attends a tour of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on October 23, 2007. (Michal Fattal/Flash90)

Here are key dates in the life of Israel’s longest-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was replaced after 12 straight years in power in Sunday’s Knesset session:

  • October 21, 1949: Netanyahu is born in Tel Aviv in a secular household. His father is a historian active in right-wing Zionist groups. He is raised in Jerusalem before the family moves to the United States, where he attends high school in Philadelphia.
  • 1973: Becomes a captain in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israeli army, after taking part in raids on Jordan and Lebanon and fighting in the Yom Kippur war.
  • 1976: Graduates from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ends doctorate studies in political science to return to Israel, when his brother Yoni is the only Israeli commando killed in the Entebbe raid to free passengers from a hijacked plane in Uganda.
  • 1976: Alongside his father, starts the Yonathan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute. Forms relationships with politicians.
  • 1982-1988: Appointed to a diplomatic post in Washington. Later becomes Israel’s ambassador to the US.
  • 1988: Joins Likud and is elected to the 12th Knesset. Serves as deputy foreign minister.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the new Entebbe exhibition at the Rabin Center on July 9, 2015. His brother Yoni was killed in the 1976 hostage rescue mission. (via Facebook)
  • 1993: Criticizes Oslo Peace Accords, becomes leader of Likud.
  • 1996-1999: Elected Israel’s youngest-ever prime minister at the age of 46. Later loses to Ehud Barak and takes a break from politics.
  • 2002: Returns to government as a minister under then-prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Benjamin Netanyahu steps out from a small train at Jerusalem’s zoo on October 10, 2002. (Flash90)
  • 2009: Re-elected Israel’s prime minister, beginning his record 12 consecutive years in charge.
  • 2015: Condemns then US president Barack Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran in a controversial speech to Congress.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be viewed on a television monitor as he delivers a speech to Congress on March 3, 2015 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
  • 2019: Indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust after a three-year corruption investigation that could put Netanyahu in jail.
  • 2020: Backed by then-US president Donald Trump, he clinches the first of four historic normalization agreements with Arab states.
FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, then-US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan react on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • 2021: Sees his record tenure end following a vote of confidence on June 13 that installs a “change” coalition united against him.
Outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Knesset session in Jerusalem, June 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schali22

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