Sara Netanyahu was born in November 1958 in the northern Israeli town of Tivon, near Haifa. She is married to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is the mother of Yair, 22, who after completing his military service in the IDF Spokesman Unit is now a student at the Hebrew University; and Avner, 19, who deferred his military service for a year to volunteer for the Israel Scouts movement's educational and cultural activities helping challenged youths. Avner was Israel’s 2010 Bible Quiz champion and the second runner-up in the 2010 International Bible Quiz.
Sara is the daughter of the late Chava and Shmuel Ben-Artzi, a poet and writer, who was one of Israel's renowned veteran teachers and educators. She is a sister to Matanya, a professor of mathematics, Hagi, a doctor of philosophy, and Amatzia, a hi-tech entrepreneur, all of whom were Israel Bible Quiz champions.
She is an expert child psychologist at the Jerusalem Municipality Psychological Service.
High school: 1974-1977 – Mrs. Netanyahu completed her studies at the Greenberg High School in Tivon, where she was an outstanding student. While still in high school, she was chosen to participate in enrichment studies for gifted students at the Technion, Israel’s MIT. She also served as a correspondent for the Ma'ariv Lanoar weekly magazine for Israeli teenagers.
Military Service: 1977-1979 – Mrs. Netanyahu served as a psychotechnical diagnostician in the Israel Defense Force Intelligence Unit. She diagnosed candidates for courses and special units in the IDF and other security services.
Undergraduate Studies: 1979-1984 – Mrs. Netanyahu completed her Bachelor's Degree in psychology at the Tel Aviv University. While still a student, she did clinical work at the Tel Hashomer Hospital rehabilitation unit and the closed ward of the Abarbanel Psychiatric Hospital in Bat-Yam. She also worked for the Chief Psychologist, Erica Landau, as a psychotechnical diagnostician for gifted children, and served as diagnostician at the Labor Ministry's Center for Professional Rehabilitation.
Graduate Studies: 1984-1985 – Mrs. Netanyahu successfully completed her Master's Degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As part of her studies, she engaged in clinical work involving individual intervention with children and parents, as well as in systemic interventions in schools. She wrote her research thesis on examining the psychodiagnostic reliability of the WISC-R test. While writing her thesis after completing her Master’s Degree courses, she worked as a flight attendant for El Al.
Mrs. Netanyahu completed writing her research thesis and received her Master's Degree in child psychology from the Hebrew University in 1996. Her thesis ranked in the top 10% of those submitted by her classmates that year.
Public Activity: 1996-1999 – During her husband's first tenure as Prime Minister, Mrs. Netanyahu volunteered to serve as chairperson of the "Hand in Hand" organization for children in distress and the "Step Forward" organization for children with cerebral palsy. Mrs. Netanyahu also helped additional organizations working with children suffering from cancer, children with special needs and shelters for battered women.
Professional Activity: 2000-Present – Sara Netanyahu returned to her clinical work as a child psychologist with the Psychological Service of the Jerusalem Municipality. She is a career psychologist and holds a regular day job. As part of her duties, Mrs. Netanyahu provides psychological diagnoses and treatment for children, as well as other tasks required of child psychologists in various educational frameworks and in the field of psychological services. She provides almost daily assistance to children and families in distress.
Sara Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister’s wife who, in addition to her public duties, continues to work in her profession as an expert child psychologist in the civil service. She is a full-time mother to her two boys.