10 things you didn’t know about Benjamin Netanyahu

1. Ben Netanyahu became Israeli prime minister in 2009.

2. He was born on Jan. 22, 1952. His father, Benzion, was a Holocaust survivor. His mother, Rachel, was born in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

3. Ben Netanyahu is a conservative who has always been vocal in his support for Israel. A hardcore nationalist, he has clashed with other Israeli leaders on policy. The irony is that, without Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying the stuff he has, there would be much more concern about a potential nuclear Iran.

4. For 10 years, he ran Tel Aviv district court, serving as president for five years before losing re-election to Aharon Barak in 1999.

5. Ben Netanyahu briefly tried to separate Zionists from secularists by writing a 1984 book that opposed working at the age of 55. It later came out that he co-wrote the book with a colleague. He was 58 at the time.

6. In June 1995, Ben Netanyahu, then a candidate in the Israeli general election, visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Though he called the visit “careless,” it was also as popular as ever.

7. In 2002, police arrested Ben Netanyahu for allegedly illegally trying to influence a Jerusalem hotel’s management over a hotel catering contract. He was charged with obstruction of justice, bribery and breach of trust.

8. In May 2009, Ben Netanyahu suffered his second health scare in three months. At the time, he reportedly suffered a stroke at his official residence.

9. As an incumbent, Ben Netanyahu was attempting to make a second term in Israeli politics, a precarious proposition. That failed. In February 2010, Ben Netanyahu’s position on a U.S.-led peace initiative fell apart, following his repeated breach of a U.S.-brokered compromise by announcing Israel’s withdrawal from a disputed construction zone in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In March, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the U.S. was monitoring Ben Netanyahu’s phone calls and intercepting them through a code called “Jerusalem.”

10. In October 2013, Ben Netanyahu was sworn in to a new, 4 1/2-year term as prime minister, despite his battles with a political, diplomatic and legal crisis.

On another note …

A final thing

A note about a man mentioned in this piece by Ruth Eglash in 1998:

Roy Cohn was a powerful adviser to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He also served as an advisor to the Israeli secret service, Mossad. Cohn grew famous in the 1950s for his role in the 1953 CIA-led coup in Iran, which overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh. In 1980, Cohn died at age 70. Until recently, his ashes were kept in a lobby of the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. Each time someone wanted to use the lobby to make a phone call to Cohn’s gravesite, they were instructed to contact a police officer.

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