Important political and military leaders of the modern State of Israel include:
THEODOR HERZL (1860-1904). Founder of political Zionism and the State of Israel.
GOLDA MEIR (1898-1978). Israel's fourth Prime Minister (1969-1974), Meir was born in Kiev and grew up in Milwaukee. She was known as the "Iron Lady" (pre-Margaret Thatcher) and was only the third woman elected to head a major government.
MENACHEM BEGIN (1913-1992). The sixth Prime Minister of Israel, he won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 for brokering the peace treaty with Egypt.
YITZHAK RABIN (1922-1995). A former Israeli general, Rabin became the nation's fifth Prime Minister, winning the Nobel Peace Prize (along with Shimon Peres) in 1994. He was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli dissident in 1995.
SHIMON PERES (born 1923). The current President of Israel, Peres was a former Prime Minister who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994 (along with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat).
ARIEL SHARON (1928-2006). Former army general and Prime Minister of Israel.
DAVID BEN-GURION (1886-1973). Founding father and first Prime Minister of Israel and head of military operations during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
MOSHE DAYAN (1915-1981). War hero, military chief-of-staff, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU (born 1949). A native Israeli, Netanyahu was a former commando commander and is the current Prime Minister.
YONATAN NETANYAHU (1946-1976). The brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, Yonatan was a war hero of the Yom Kippur War before being killed while leading the Israeli Raid on Entebbe.