In more than 14 years as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has become both Israel’s longest-serving leader and the first to face criminal prosecution while in office.
Lauded by his supporters as “King Bibi” and as a “magician” for his knack of winning elections, the leader of Israel’s right-wing Likud party is fighting for his political survival as he prepares to stand trial on corruption charges.
His success in polls has owed much to his image as the person who can best keep Israel safe from hostile forces in the Middle East.
He has taken a hard line towards the Palestinians, putting security concerns at the top of any discussion of peace, and long warned of danger from Iran.
Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. In 1963 his family moved to the US when his father Benzion, a prominent historian and Zionist activist, was offered an academic post.
At the age of 18, Benjamin returned to Israel, where he spent five distinguished years in the army, serving as a captain in an elite commando unit, the Sayeret Matkal. He took part in a raid on Beirut’s airport in 1968 and fought in the 1973 Middle East war.