Yuval Noah Harari was born and raised in Kiryat Ata, Israel, one of three children born to Shlomo and Pnina Harari. His was a secular Jewish family with Eastern European and Lebanese roots. His father was a state-employed armaments engineer and his mother was an office administrator. Harari taught himself to read at age three. He studied at the Leo Beck Education Center in Haifa, in a class for intellectually gifted children from age eight. He deferred mandatory military service in the Israel Defense Forces to pursue university studies as part of the Atuda program, but was later exempted from completing his military service following his studies due to health issues. He began studying history and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at age 17.