Today, it feels as if Israel goes through prime ministers faster than a child goes through candy –– having had six leaders since 1995. But earlier heads of state held their positions for many years, and many remain lauded figures.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, led the now non- existent left-wing Mapai-led bloc. He ostensibly ruled from independence in 1948 until 1963 (taking two years out from 1953 to 1955). Prior to independence, Ben-Gurion headed the Jewish Agency, which oversaw the building of the state’s infrastructure.
The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the first native-born prime minister, and the only one ever assassinated, served from 1974 to 1977 and 1992 to 1995. Menachem Begin held the job from 1977 to 1983. When he resigned, Yitzhak Shamir served until 1992, stepping aside for Shimon Peres from 1984 to 1986.
Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud coalition ruled from 1996 to 1999. He was replaced by Ehud Barak’s left-wing Labor coalition, 1999 to 2001. Then came Ariel Sharon’s Likud coalition in 2001. In 2005, he smashed Likud by breaking away to form the centrist Kadima, which is still ruling through Ehud Olmert. Mr. Sharon slipped into a coma in Jan. 2006.