It was great fun to learn about his life as I was writing the book and to further my understanding of him, I recently purchased his book Durable Peace. I sent the copy to him and asked him for him to autograph it. While it took 3 months to get it back, it is now one of my prized possessions.
Bibi Netanyahu is the first Prime Minister of Israel that was born in the country after it was recognized. He attended Henrietta Szold Elementary School. A copy of his evaluation from his 6th grade teacher Ruth Rubenstein indicated that Netanyahu was courteous, polite, and helpful; that his work was “responsible and punctual”; and that Netanyahu was friendly, disciplined, cheerful, brave, active and obedient.
What many may not know is that from the time that he was 7-9 he lived in a suburb of Philadelphia and then returned to attend high school there. Following graduation, he did his compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces. He trained as a combat soldier and served for five years in an elite special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal. After his minitary service, he returned to the states, where he attended MIT and the Sloan School of Management.
He held many roles in the business world both in the US and in Israel before entering into public service in Israel, in a number of roles, including the Minister of Finance, before he eventually ran for Prime Minister.
Netanyahu is one of the “Forest Gump-esque” elements of the Game Changer story. He befriends Avi, the CEO of the Company when they were in grade school and becomes his protector. They reconnect in Boston at MIT in the 70s, in the midst of Watergate. As Avi works Amanda, the partner with the Private Equity company (aka the Firm), on the pan to take the Company public, they decide that they should leverage his Jewish heritage as a part of the positioning. I believe that Avi made this decision due to Bibi’s faithful support of him over the years, as well as information about entrepreneurial immigrants from the book StartUp Nation, a book given to me by a good friend in Israel.
His appearance in the book underscores the importance of the various people in our lives, from childhood friends to mentors and business colleagues.