Benjamin Netanyahu Facts & Political Career

By Team ABJ

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Benjamin Netanyahu is an Israeli politician and diplomat who served as the prime minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009 to 2021. He is the chairman of the Likud party and holds the record for being the longest-serving 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, you will find some facts and other information about Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career.

Some facts about Benjamin Netanyahu are:

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

2. In 1967, he enlisted in the Israeli military and became a soldier in the elite special operations unit known as Sayeret Matkal.

3. He pursued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning an M.B.A. in 1976. He also briefly attended Harvard University for a Ph.D. but did not complete the program.

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

5. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs from 1988 to 1991, deputy minister in Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s coalition cabinet from 1991 to 1992, and as the permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988.

6. His nickname is “Bibi.”

7. He is a member of the Likud political party in Israel, known for its center-right to right-wing 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 office from 1996 to 1999 and then again from 2009 to 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 faced multiple corruption scandals during his political career, including allegations of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing and has undergone legal proceedings as a result.

11. He has cultivated 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, garnering strong support from his conservative base while facing criticism from those who oppose his policies and leadership style.

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

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

Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the two-state solution has exhibited ambiguity and inconsistency throughout the years, as outlined below:

In 2009, Netanyahu publicly endorsed a two-state solution for the first time but with several conditions, including 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, under his leadership, there would be no Palestinian state, citing regional instability and the threat of radical Islam.

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

In 2023, Netanyahu reiterated his position that he was open to negotiations with the Palestinians but insisted that Israel retain overriding security control over the territory west of the Jordan River, acknowledging that it wouldn’t constitute full sovereignty for the Palestinians.

It’s important to note that many Palestinians and numerous international actors have rejected Netanyahu’s vision of a two-state solution, viewing it as a continuation of the Israeli occupation and a violation of Palestinian rights. They accuse him of undermining the prospects for 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 labeled Netanyahu as “the undertaker of the two-state solution” and have called for alternative solutions, such as a one-state solution or a confederation.

How did Benjamin Netanyahu become Prime Minister in 2022?

Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office as Prime Minister in 2022, marking his fifth election victory in less than four years. His resurgence can be attributed to the following key factors:

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

2. Mobilizing his base: Netanyahu successfully mobilized his political base and capitalized on the rise of a far-right party, some of whose leaders are considered extremists. This support played a crucial role in helping him secure the necessary seats to form a government.

3. Capitalizing on Covid-19 handling and diplomatic achievements: Netanyahu’s adept handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and his diplomatic accomplishments with several Arab countries significantly bolstered his popularity among certain segments of the electorate.

4. The fragility of the coalition government: Netanyahu’s political comeback was further facilitated by the fragility and instability of the diverse coalition government that had ousted him in June 2021. This coalition, spanning from left-wing to right-wing ideologies and including an Arab party for the first time, faced internal divisions on 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, especially within the right-wing, religious, and nationalist sectors of society.

However, Netanyahu also faces significant opposition and criticism from many Israelis whom view him as a divisive and corrupt leader, posing a threat to Israel’s democracy. This perspective is particularly prevalent among the left-wing, secular, and liberal sectors of society. He has been accused of undermining the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, and the rights of minorities. Additionally, he has been blamed for his failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deepen social and economic gaps in the country, and alienate 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 stood at 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. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that polls in Israel can be unpredictable 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 currently 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 vehemently denies any wrongdoing and asserts that he is the victim of a “witch hunt” orchestrated by his political adversaries and the media.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, stand accused of receiving goods valued at approximately $198,000, including cigar boxes and champagne, from two businessmen in exchange for using their official positions to benefit these individuals.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is alleged to have engaged in discussions with media tycoon Arnon Mozes regarding the promotion of their mutual interests. Netanyahu purportedly offered to restrict the circulation of a rival newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage from Mozes’ newspaper.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu faces accusations of intervening with regulatory bodies to favor Shaul Elovitch, a telecom magnate and the owner of a news site, in exchange for positive media coverage. Netanyahu is alleged to have granted regulatory concessions worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Elovitch’s company.

Netanyahu’s trial commenced in May 2020 but has experienced multiple delays due to various factors. The trial is anticipated to extend for several months, if not years. In the event of a conviction, Netanyahu could potentially be sentenced to 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, exposing him 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.