Benjamin Netanyahu Facts & Political Career

Benjamin Netanyahu is an Israeli politician and diplomat who has been serving as the prime minister of Israel since December 2022, having previously held the office from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009 to 2021. He is the chairman of the Likud party and the longest-tenured prime minister in the country’s history. He is also the first prime minister to be born in Israel after its Declaration of Independence. In this post, get some facts and other information about the political career of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Some facts about Benjamin Netanyahu are:

1. He was born on October 21, 1949, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

2. He joined the Israeli military in 1967 and became a soldier in the elite special operations unit Sayeret Matkal.

3. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.B.A., 1976) and Harvard University (Ph.D., dropped out).

4. He founded the Jonathan Institute, which sponsored conferences on terrorism after his brother Jonathan died while leading the Entebbe raid in 1976.

5. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs (1988–91), deputy minister in Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s coalition cabinet (1991–92), and permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations (1984–88).

6. His nickname is Bibi.

7. He is a member of the Likud political party in Israel, which is considered center-right to right-wing in its ideology.

8. Netanyahu served as the Prime Minister of Israel for a total of 15 years, making him the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israeli history. He held the office from 1996-1999 and then again from 2009-2021.

9. He is known for his hawkish stance on national security and foreign policy, particularly in relation to Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

10. Netanyahu has been involved in multiple corruption scandals during his political career, including allegations of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing and has faced legal proceedings as a result.

11. He has pursued close relationships with various world leaders, including U.S. Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

12. Netanyahu’s leadership has been divisive within Israel, with strong support from his conservative base and criticism from those who oppose his policies and leadership style.

13. In June 2021, Netanyahu’s tenure as Prime Minister came to an end when a new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett was formed in Israel, ending his 12-year consecutive term in office.

What are Benjamin Netanyahu’s views on the two-state solution?

Benjamin Netanyahu’s views on the two-state solution have been ambiguous and inconsistent over the years, as outlined below:

In 2009, Netanyahu publicly endorsed a two-state solution for the first time, but with several conditions, such as Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and Israeli security control over the West Bank.

In 2015, Netanyahu declared that there would be no Palestinian state under his watch, citing regional instability and the threat of radical Islam.

In 2020, Netanyahu supported the Trump administration’s peace plan, which envisioned a highly fragmented and dependent Palestinian state with Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank.

In 2023, Netanyahu reiterated his position that he was open to negotiations with the Palestinians, but only if Israel retained overriding security control over the territory west of the Jordan River, which he admitted was not perfect sovereignty for the Palestinians.

It’s worth noting that most Palestinians and many international actors have rejected Netanyahu’s vision of a two-state solution as a continuation of the Israeli occupation and an unacceptable violation of Palestinian rights. They have accused him of undermining the prospects of a viable and independent Palestinian state through actions such as expanding Israeli settlements, annexing parts of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and imposing restrictions on Palestinian movement and access. Some critics have even dubbed Netanyahu “the undertaker of the two-state solution” and called for alternative solutions, such as a one-state solution or a confederation.

How did Benjamin Netanyahu become Prime Minister in 2022?

Benjamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister again in 2022 after winning the fifth election in less than four years. The following steps led to his comeback:

Victory in the 2022 election: Netanyahu’s Likud party and its far-right and religious allies emerged victorious in the election, securing 64 out of 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament.

Mobilizing his base: Netanyahu was able to mobilize his base and benefit from the rise of a far-right party, some of whose leaders are considered extremists. This support helped him secure the necessary seats to form a government.

Capitalizing on Covid-19 handling and diplomatic achievements: Netanyahu’s successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and his diplomatic achievements with several Arab countries boosted his popularity among some voters.

The fragility of the coalition government: Netanyahu’s comeback was also facilitated by the fragility and instability of the diverse coalition government that had ousted him in June 2021. The coalition, which ranged from left-wing to right-wing and included an Arab party for the first time, faced internal divisions over various issues and ultimately collapsed in October 2021 after failing to pass a state budget.

How popular is Benjamin Netanyahu among Israelis?

Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity among Israelis has been fluctuating over the years, influenced by various factors such as his political achievements, personal scandals, security record, and economic policies. He has a loyal base of supporters who admire him as a strong leader and defender of Israel’s interests, particularly among the right-wing, religious, and nationalist sectors of society. Additionally, his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and diplomatic outreach to Arab countries has won him some support from the center and periphery of Israeli society.

However, Netanyahu also faces significant opposition and criticism from many Israelis who view him as a divisive and corrupt leader, and a threat to Israel’s democracy, particularly among the left-wing, secular, and liberal sectors of society. He has been accused of undermining the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, and the rights of minorities. He has also been blamed for failing to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deepening social and economic gaps in the country, and alienating some of Israel’s allies.

As of January 2023, according to a recent poll conducted by Channel 12 News, Netanyahu’s approval rating among Israelis was 46%, while his disapproval rating was 51%. His Likud party was projected to win 29 seats in the next election, followed by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party with 18 seats. However, it’s important to note that polls in Israel can be unreliable and subject to change, and Netanyahu’s popularity may also be influenced by his ongoing corruption trial, which he denies any wrongdoing in.

What are the corruption charges against Benjamin Netanyahu?

Benjamin Netanyahu is facing three separate corruption charges known as Case 1000, Case 2000, and Case 4000. He has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in all three cases. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and claims to be the victim of a “witch hunt” by his political enemies and the media.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are accused of receiving goods worth about $198,000, such as cigar boxes and champagne, from two businessmen in exchange for acting in their favor as part of his official roles.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is alleged to have had discussions with a media tycoon, Arnon Mozes, about promoting their mutual interests. Netanyahu allegedly offered to limit the circulation of a rival newspaper in return for more favorable coverage from Mozes’ newspaper.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu is accused of intervening with regulators to benefit Shaul Elovitch, a telecom magnate and the owner of a news site, in exchange for positive media coverage. Netanyahu allegedly granted regulatory favors worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Elovitch’s company.

Netanyahu’s trial began in May 2020 but has been delayed multiple times due to various reasons. The trial is expected to last for several months or even years. If convicted, Netanyahu could face up to 10 years in prison for bribery and up to three years for fraud and breach of trust.

How does the trial affect Netanyahu’s political career?

The trial has had a significant impact on Netanyahu’s political career in several ways. First, it has damaged his public image, as he has been exposed to allegations of corruption, dishonesty, and abuse of power. This has led to protests against him and calls for his resignation, while also polarizing the electorate and political parties in Israel.

Second, the trial has put Netanyahu at risk of conviction and imprisonment, which could have serious legal consequences for him, including the loss of immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament.

Third, the trial has made it harder for Netanyahu to form a stable government, as many parties have refused to join a coalition led by an indicted prime minister, and some have demanded that he step aside or share power with a rotating partner. This has also caused a split within his own party, Likud, with challenges to his leadership and defections to rival parties.

The trial is expected to last for several months or even years, which means it will continue to impact Netanyahu’s political career and Israel’s political landscape for the foreseeable future. Overall, the trial has had significant implications for Netanyahu’s public image, legal status, and coalition prospects, contributing to political deadlock and instability in Israel.


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