cover image Bibi: My Story

Bibi: My Story

Benjamin Netanyahu. Threshold, $35 (736p) ISBN 978-1-6680-0844-7

This self-serving autobiography by former Israeli prime minister Netanyahu (A Durable Peace) begins with a flashback to his time in a special unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, recounting a 1972 raid on a plane held by Palestinian terrorists, then moves more or less chronologically through his life and career. Born in Israel in 1949, Netanyahu served in the military during the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War before completing his education at MIT. Recounting his two terms as prime minister (1996–1999 and 2009–2021), Netanyahu dismisses serious allegations out of hand, including the 2019 corruption charges that led to his indictment and for which he is currently on trial. He also rejects any responsibility for the violent rhetoric that contributed to then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, claiming that those charges were ginned up by “my antagonists in the press and on the political left.” Elsewhere, the amount of detail about Netanyahu’s policies, including welfare reforms related to per-child allowances, is more than most non-Israelis will find interesting. There’s little newsworthy here (Netanyahu alleges without evidence that President Obama gave Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a “secret commitment to establish a full-fledged Palestinian state before he left office”), and readers looking for insights into Netanyahu’s two marriages and other personal matters won’t find them. This superficial account won’t sway Netanyahu’s critics. (Oct.)