Israel’s 24 Knesset elections and three direct elections for prime minister have resulted in 13 different people serving as prime minister, in addition to one person, Yigal Allon, who served only on an interim basis.
Israel’s Prime Ministers
Click on a prime minister’s name for more information.
David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister and long held the record for most time in the position. (Hans Pinn, Israeli National Photo Collection)
David Ben-Gurion, 1948-1954 and 1955-1963
Moshe Sharett was Ben-Gurion’s successor and predecessor. (Hans Pinn, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Moshe Sharett, 1954-1955
Levi Eshkol, shown after Israel’s victory in the June 1967 war, was the only prime minister to die in office. (Israeli National Photo Collection)
Levi Eshkol, 1963-1969
Yigal Allon (right) served as interim prime minister for a month after Eshkol’s death, then gave way to Golda Meir at the head of the government. (Moshe Milner, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Yigal Allon, 1969 (interim after Eshkol’s death)
Golda Meir, 1969-1974
Yitzhak Rabin never led his party in a Knesset election as the prime minister. (Moshe Milner, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Yitzhak Rabin, 1974-1977, 1992-1995
Menachem Begin ended three decades of governments led by Mapai and its left-wing successors. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Menachem Begin, 1977-1983
Yitzhak Shamir, 1983-1984, 1986-1992
Shimon Peres (left) and Yitzhak Shamir formed a national unity government in which they took turns as prime minister in the mid-1980s. (Nati Harnik, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Shimon Peres, 1984-1986, 1995-1996
Benjamin Netanyahu broke Ben-Gurion’s record the longest time serving as prime minister. (Moshe Milner, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Benjamin Netanyahu, 1996-1999, 2009-present
Ehud Barak won the second-ever direct election for prime minister, then lost the third and so far last. (Moshe Milner, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Ehud Barak, 1999-2001
Ariel Sharon’s term ended prematurely when he slipped into a coma after a massive stroke in January 2006. (Avi Ohayon, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Ariel Sharon, 2001-2006
Ehud Olmert gained the premiership on an interim basis after Sharon fell into a coma, gained the position in his own right, then resigned amid corruption allegations. (Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli National Photo Collection)
Ehud Olmert, 2006-2009
Israel’s Election History
Click on the Knesset number for a brief summary of that election. Click on the election date for full results from the Knesset website.
23nd Knesset — March 2, 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud (36 seats) in a unity government with Benny Gantz of Blue and White (33), with an agreement to rotate the premiership after two years
24th Knesset — March 23, 2021, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Yamina (7 seats) in a unity government with Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid (17), who is due to rotate into the premiership after two years.