Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister « Khabarhub
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Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister


17 July 2019  

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JERUSALEM: Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He has ruled 13-year as a prime minister, is set to surpass that of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion on July 20, all agree Netanyahu has left a permanent imprint on Israel.

He has persevered through scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even as the country grows more bitterly polarized. His supporters credit him with keeping Israel safe and prosperous, maintaining its Jewish character and boosting its standing internationally.

His opponents, with equally visceral emotion, claim he has dashed hopes for peace with the Palestinians, torn society apart with vicious attacks on minority Arabs and left-wing opponents, and infused politics with a culture of corruption.

“He thinks that he is the right guy in the right place. That he is the one who will save Israel and lead Israel to a safe haven,” said Aviv Bushinsky, a former Netanyahu aide. Israelis think that “things are good, so why should we change a winning horse,” he added.

Just as he is about to cross a milestone, Netanyahu faces perhaps his greatest political challenge yet.

Netanyahu has often said he would like to be remembered as the “protector of Israel.” But admirers and critics alike say that what sets him apart is his unparalleled political acumen, a ruthless drive to win at all costs and an uncanny ability to sell his shifting policies to the public.

“He so deeply believes in himself and what he is doing, and his marketing skills are so amazing that he can argue for one thing and then the opposite with the same conviction. It’s an art form,” said Bushinsky.

As finance minister in the early 2000s, he cut taxes and rolled back entitlements to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community — only to reverse course once he returned to power to secure their political backing. He wrote counterterrorism books in which he preached never to negotiate under threat, but as prime minister he released more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for a single captive Israeli soldier in 2011.
The son of a historian — and a keen student of history himself — Netanyahu already holds the record for being Israel’s youngest elected prime minister and for serving the longest consecutive term.

Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist at the Haaretz daily and author of a Netanyahu biography, called the prime minister an “incredibly good political strategist” who has presided over a period of prosperity and relative quiet. Netanyahu often boasts of expanding ties with countries that once shunned Israel — including Arab states that share Israel’s enmity toward Iran — while rejecting demands for a Palestinian state.

(Agencies)

Publish Date : 17 July 2019 18:23 PM

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