The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Israel

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This page contains a list of the greatest Israeli Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 107 of which were born in Israel. This makes Israel the birth place of the 28th most number of Politicians behind Portugal and South Korea.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Israeli Politicians of all time. This list of famous Israeli Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Israeli Politicians.

Photo of Herod the Great

1. Herod the Great (-73 - -3)

With an HPI of 85.44, Herod the Great is the most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages on wikipedia.

Herod I (; Hebrew: הוֹרְדוֹס‎, Modern: Hōrdōs, Tiberian: Hōrəḏōs; Greek: Ἡρῴδης Hērǭdēs; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. The history of his legacy has polarized opinion, as he is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century CE Roman–Jewish historian Josephus.Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, although a majority of Herod biographers do not believe this event to have occurred. Despite his successes, including singlehandedly forging a new aristocracy from practically nothing, he has still garnered criticism from various historians. His reign polarizes opinion amongst scholars and historians, some viewing his legacy as evidence of success, and some as a reminder of his tyrannical rule.Upon Herod's death, the Romans divided his kingdom among three of his sons and his sister: Archelaus became ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; Herod Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea; Philip became tetrarch of territories north and east of the Jordan; and Salome I was given a toparchy including the cities of Jabneh, Ashdod, and Phasaelis.

Photo of Ariel Sharon

2. Ariel Sharon (1928 - 2014)

With an HPI of 82.13, Ariel Sharon is the 2nd most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 93 different languages.

Ariel Sharon (Hebrew: אֲרִיאֵל שָׁרוֹן‎; IPA: [aʁiˈ(ʔ)el ʃaˈʁon] (listen), Ariʼēl Sharōn, also known by his diminutive Arik, אָרִיק‎, born Ariel Scheinermann, אֲרִיאֵל שַׁיינֶרְמָן‎; 26 February 1928 – 11 January 2014) was an Israeli general and politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006.Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948. As a soldier and then an officer, he participated prominently in the 1948 Palestine war, becoming a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and taking part in many battles, including Operation Bin Nun Alef. He was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101 and the reprisal operations, as well as in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition, and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. Yitzhak Rabin has called Sharon "the greatest field commander in our history".Upon retirement from the military, Sharon entered politics, joining the Likud party, and served in a number of ministerial posts in Likud-led governments in 1977–92 and 1996–99. As Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. An official enquiry found that he bore "personal responsibility" for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and recommended that he be removed as Defense Minister. His role in the massacre led to him being known as the "Butcher of Beirut" among Arabs.From the 1970s through to the 1990s, Sharon championed construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He became the leader of the Likud in 2000, and was appointed Prime Minister of Israel after defeating Ehud Barak in the 2001 prime ministerial election. He served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006, during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. As Prime Minister, Sharon orchestrated Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2004–05. Facing stiff opposition to this policy within the Likud, in November 2005 he left Likud to form a new party, Kadima. He had been expected to win the next election and was widely interpreted as planning on "clearing Israel out of most of the West Bank", in a series of unilateral withdrawals. After suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006, Sharon remained in a permanent vegetative state until his death in January 2014.

Photo of Yitzhak Rabin

3. Yitzhak Rabin (1922 - 1995)

With an HPI of 82.10, Yitzhak Rabin is the 3rd most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 87 different languages.

Yitzhak Rabin (; Hebrew: יִצְחָק רַבִּין‎, IPA: [jitsˈχak ʁaˈbin] (listen); 1 March 1922 – 4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77, and from 1992 until his assassination in 1995. Rabin was born in Jerusalem to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and was raised in a Labor Zionist household. He learned agriculture in school and excelled as a student. He led a 27-year career as a soldier. As a teenager he joined the Palmach, the commando force of the Yishuv. He eventually rose through its ranks to become its chief of operations during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. He joined the newly formed Israel Defense Forces in late 1948 and continued to rise as a promising officer. He helped shape the training doctrine of the IDF in the early 1950s, and led the IDF's Operations Directorate from 1959 to 1963. He was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1964 and oversaw Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. Rabin served as Israel's ambassador to the United States from 1968 to 1973, during a period of deepening U.S.–Israel ties. He was appointed Prime Minister of Israel in 1974, after the resignation of Golda Meir. In his first term, Rabin signed the Sinai Interim Agreement and ordered the Entebbe raid. He resigned in 1977 in the wake of a financial scandal. Rabin was Israel's minister of defense for much of the 1980s, including during the outbreak of the First Intifada. In 1992, Rabin was re-elected as prime minister on a platform embracing the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. He signed several historic agreements with the Palestinian leadership as part of the Oslo Accords. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with long-time political rival Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Rabin also signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. In November 1995, he was assassinated by an extremist named Yigal Amir, who opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords. Amir was convicted of Rabin's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Rabin was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the only prime minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol. Rabin has become a symbol of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.

Photo of Herod Antipas

4. Herod Antipas (-20 - 39)

With an HPI of 81.65, Herod Antipas is the 4th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Herod Antipas (Greek: Ἡρῴδης Ἀντίπας, Hērǭdēs Antipas; born before 20 BC – died after 39 AD), was a 1st-century ruler of Galilee and Perea, who bore the title of tetrarch ("ruler of a quarter") and is referred to as both "Herod the Tetrarch" and "King Herod" in the New Testament, although he never held the title of king. He is widely known today for accounts in the New Testament of his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. (Matthew 14:1–12) After being recognized by Augustus upon the death of his father, Herod the Great (4 BC/), and subsequently by his brother, the ethnarch Herod Archelaus, Antipas officially ruled Galilee and Perea as a client state of the Roman Empire. He was responsible for building projects at Sepphoris and Betharamphtha, and for the construction of his capital Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Named in honour of his patron, the emperor Tiberius, the city later became a centre of rabbinic learning after the Jewish-Roman wars (66-135 CE). Antipas divorced his first wife Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea, in favour of Herodias, who had formerly been married to his half-brother Herod II. (Antipas was Herod the Great's son by Malthace, while Herod II was his son by Mariamne II.) According to the New Testament Gospels, it was John the Baptist's condemnation of this arrangement that led Antipas to have him arrested; John was subsequently put to death in Machaerus. Besides provoking his conflict with John the Baptist, the tetrarch's divorce added a personal grievance to previous disputes with Aretas over territory on the border of Perea and Nabatea. The result was a war that proved disastrous for Antipas; a Roman counter-offensive was ordered by Tiberius, but abandoned upon that emperor's death in 37 AD. In 39 AD Antipas was accused by his nephew Agrippa I of conspiracy against the Roman emperor Caligula, who sent him into exile in Spain, according to Josephus. Accompanied there by Herodias, he died at an unknown date.The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was first brought before Pontius Pilate for trial, since Pilate was the governor of Roman Judea, which encompassed Jerusalem where Jesus was arrested. Pilate initially handed him over to Antipas, in whose territory Jesus had been most active, but Antipas sent him back to Pilate's court.

Photo of Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

5. Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1161 - 1185)

With an HPI of 80.81, Baldwin IV of Jerusalem is the 5th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Baldwin IV (French: Baudouin; 1161 – 1185), called the Leper, was the king of Jerusalem from 1174 until his death. He was admired by his contemporaries and later historians for his willpower and dedication to the Latin kingdom in the face of debilitating leprosy, which eventually left him blind and unable to use his hands and feet. Choosing competent advisers, Baldwin ruled a thriving realm and succeeded in protecting it from the ambitions of Egyptian ruler Saladin. Baldwin was the son of King Amalric and his first wife, Agnes of Courtenay. He developed first symptoms of leprosy as a child, but was only diagnosed after his father died and he became king in 1174. Thereafter his hands and face became increasingly disfigured. Count Raymond III of Tripoli ruled the kingdom in Baldwin's name until the king reached the age of majority in 1176. As soon as he assumed government, Baldwin and his advisers started planning an invasion of Egypt, recently overtaken by Saladin. Baldwin agreed to a protectorate in return for Byzantine assistance, but the project fell through due to his vassals' uncooperativeness. Saladin in turned attacked Baldwin's kingdom in 1177, but the king and nobleman Raynald of Châtillon repelled him at Montgisard, earning Baldwin fame. The young king mastered horse riding despite gradually losing sensation in his extremities and was able to fight in battles until his last years. Leprosy precluded Baldwin from marrying. His sister, Sibylla, stood to succeed him, and it was vital in Baldwin's reign to arrange a marriage for her. He hoped to abdicate when she married William of Montferrat in 1176, but William died the next year. In 1180, in order to forestall a coup by Count Raymond III of Tripoli and Prince Bohemond III of Antioch, Baldwin had Sibylla marry Guy of Lusignan. This proved to be a mistake in the long term; Guy was opposed by a large fraction of nobility, and soon permanently impaired his relationship with Baldwin. The internal discord that followed forced Baldwin to remain king, as only he was capable of uniting quarreling nobility. Baldwin again repelled Saladin in 1182, but leprosy rendered him blind and unable to walk or use his hands in 1183. He disinherited Guy and had Sibylla's son, Baldwin V, crowned co-king before having himself taken in a litter to lift Saladin's siege of Kerak. Baldwin failed in his attempt to have Sibylla's marriage to Guy annulled and Guy's fief of Ascalon confiscated. In early 1185, Baldwin developed a life-threatening fever for the third and final time. He arranged for Raymond to rule as regent for his nephew, Baldwin V, and died before 16 May.

Photo of Goliath

6. Goliath (-1060 - )

With an HPI of 80.74, Goliath is the 6th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Goliath ( gə-LY-əth) is described in the biblical Book of Samuel as a Philistine giant defeated by the young David in single combat. The story signified Saul's unfitness to rule, as Saul himself should have fought for Israel. Scholars today believe that the original listed killer of Goliath was Elhanan, son of Jair, and that the authors of the Deuteronomic history changed the original text to credit the victory to the more famous character, David.The phrase "David and Goliath" has taken on a more popular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas

7. Mahmoud Abbas (1935 - )

With an HPI of 79.83, Mahmoud Abbas is the 7th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 72 different languages.

Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: مَحْمُود عَبَّاس‎, romanized: Maḥmūd ʿAbbās; born 15 November 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen (Arabic: أَبُو مَازِن‎, ʾAbū Māzin), is the president of the State of Palestine and the Palestinian National Authority. He has been the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 11 November 2004, PNA president since 15 January 2005, and State of Palestine president since 8 May 2005. Abbas is also a member of the Fatah party and was elected chairman in 2009. Abbas was elected on 9 January 2005 to serve as President of the Palestinian National Authority until 15 January 2009, but extended his term until the next election in 2010, citing the PLO constitution, and on 16 December 2009 was voted into office indefinitely by the PLO Central Council. As a result, Fatah's main rival, Hamas, initially announced that it would not recognize the extension or view Abbas as the rightful president. Yet, Abbas is internationally recognized in his position(s) and Hamas and Fatah conducted numerous negotiations in the following years, leading to an agreement in April 2014 for a Unity Government (which lasted until October 2016) and to the recognition of his office by Hamas. Abbas was also chosen as the president of the State of Palestine by the PLO Central Council on 23 November 2008, a position he had held unofficially since 8 May 2005.Abbas served as the first prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from March to September 2003. Before being named Prime Minister, Abbas led the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department.

Photo of Moshe Dayan

8. Moshe Dayan (1915 - 1981)

With an HPI of 79.48, Moshe Dayan is the 8th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Moshe Dayan (Hebrew: משה דיין‎‎; 20 May 1915 – 16 October 1981) was an Israeli military leader and politician. As commander of the Jerusalem front in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (1953–1958) during the 1956 Suez Crisis, but mainly as Defense Minister during the Six-Day War in 1967, he became a worldwide fighting symbol of the new state of Israel. In the 1930s, Dayan joined the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish defense force of Mandatory Palestine. He served in the Special Night Squads under Orde Wingate during the Arab revolt in Palestine and later lost an eye in a raid on Vichy forces in Lebanon during World War II. Dayan was close to David Ben-Gurion and joined him in leaving the Mapai party and setting up the Rafi party in 1965 with Shimon Peres. Dayan became Defence Minister just before the 1967 Six-Day War. After the Yom Kippur War of 1973, during which Dayan served as Defense Minister, he was blamed for the lack of preparedness; after some time he resigned. In 1977, following the election of Menachem Begin as Prime Minister, Dayan was expelled from the Labor Party because he joined the Likud-led government as Foreign Minister, playing an important part in negotiating the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu

9. Benjamin Netanyahu (1949 - )

With an HPI of 79.43, Benjamin Netanyahu is the 9th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 100 different languages.

Benjamin Netanyahu (; Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין נְתַנְיָהוּ‎ ; born 21 October 1949) is an Israeli politician who served as the ninth prime minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021. Netanyahu currently serves as Leader of the Opposition and as the chairman of the Likud – National Liberal Movement. He served in office for a total of 15 years, making him the longest-serving Israeli prime minister in history. He was also the first prime minister to be born in Israel after its Declaration of Independence.Born in Tel Aviv to secular Jewish parents, Netanyahu was raised both in Jerusalem, and for a time in Philadelphia in the United States. He returned to Israel in 1967 to join the Israel Defense Forces. He became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces and took part in several missions, achieving the rank of captain before being honorably discharged. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Netanyahu became an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. He moved back to Israel in 1978 to found the Yonatan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute. From 1984–1988, Netanyahu was Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. In 1993, he was elected as the Chairman of Likud, becoming Leader of the Opposition. He went on to defeat the incumbent Prime Minister Shimon Peres at the 1996 election, and was appointed as Israel's youngest-ever Prime Minister. After serving a single term, Netanyahu and Likud were heavily defeated in the 1999 election by Ehud Barak's One Israel party; Netanyahu chose to retire from politics entirely, and entered the private sector. However several years later, after his successor as Likud Chairman, Ariel Sharon, became Prime Minister, Netanyahu was convinced to return to politics, and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance. As Finance Minister, Netanyahu initiated major reforms of the Israeli economy that were credited by commentators as having significantly improved Israel's subsequent economic performance. Netanyahu later clashed with Sharon, eventually resigning over disagreements regarding the Gaza disengagement plan. Netanyahu returned to the leadership of Likud in December 2005 after Sharon stepped down to form a new party, Kadima. He was the Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2009. Although Likud finished second in the 2009 election to Kadima, Netanyahu was able to form a coalition government with other right-wing parties and was sworn in as Prime Minister for a second time. He went on to lead Likud to victory in the 2013 and 2015 elections. After the April 2019 election resulted in no party being able to form a government, a second election in 2019 took place. In the September 2019 election, the centrist Blue and White alliance, led by Benny Gantz, emerged slightly ahead of Netanyahu's Likud; however, neither Netanyahu nor Gantz was able to form a government. After continued political deadlock, this was resolved when Likud and Blue and White reached a coalition agreement following the 2020 election. Under the terms of the agreement, the premiership would rotate between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, in which Gantz was scheduled to succeed Netanyahu in November 2021. In December 2020, this coalition collapsed and a new election was held in March 2021. In his final government, Netanyahu led Israel's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis. In June 2021, after Naftali Bennett formed a government with Yair Lapid, Netanyahu was removed from the premiership, becoming Leader of the Opposition for the third time. Netanyahu made his closeness to Donald Trump, a personal friend since the 1980s, central to his political appeal in Israel from 2016. During Trump's presidency, the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and brokered the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements between Israel and various Arab states. Since December 2016, Netanyahu has been under investigation for corruption by Israeli police and prosecutors. On 21 November 2019, he was indicted on charges of breach of trust, bribery and fraud. Due to the indictment, Netanyahu was legally required to relinquish all of his ministry posts other than the prime minister position prior to his ousting.

Photo of Reuven Rivlin

10. Reuven Rivlin (1939 - )

With an HPI of 78.78, Reuven Rivlin is the 10th most famous Israeli Politician.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin (Hebrew: רְאוּבֵן "רוּבִי" רִיבְלִין‎ [ʁeʔuˈven ʁivˈlin] (listen); born 9 September 1939) is an Israeli politician and lawyer who served as the tenth president of Israel between 2014 and 2021. He is a member of the Likud party. Rivlin was Minister of Communications from 2001 to 2003, and subsequently served as Speaker of the Knesset from 2003 to 2006 and 2009 to 2013. On 10 June 2014, he was elected President of Israel. His term ended on 7 July 2021. Rivlin argues for a Greater Israel that would embrace all people and give the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza full Israeli citizenship. He is also a strong supporter of minority rights, particularly for Arab Israelis. He supports the one-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Pantheon has 107 people classified as politicians born between 2400 BC and 1978. Of these 107, 37 (34.58%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Reuven Rivlin. The most famous deceased politicians include Herod the Great, Ariel Sharon, and Yitzhak Rabin. As of October 2020, 17 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Yael Dayan, Peter I, Count of Alençon, and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 21 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.