UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his right-wing leadership for the longest term in power in Israel by resorting to the art of surprise his opponents with his political steps.
The 69-year-old Netanyahu, a strong brown with his silver hair and hoarse voice, is at the heart of Israel’s political system as if he was always there, and is looking for a sixth term.
Yet he is the only prime minister in all of Israel’s history, born after the establishment of the Jewish state in May 1948.
Netanyahu was born on October 21, 1949 in Tel Aviv. He grew up in an environment formed by the thinking of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the so-called “Corrective Zionist Party”, one of the most important Zionist right-wing parties of the last century demanding the creation of a Jewish state stretching between Mesopotamia. Ben-Zion was the father of Benjamin personal assistant to Jabotinsky.
He spent a period of his life in the United States where he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a Bachelor of Architecture and an MBA.
He served in the elite unit of the IDF and was wounded in one of the battles. He was deeply moved by the killing of his brother Jonathan during the release of Israeli hostages in Entebbe, Uganda. He described the process as “a very tragic national experience”.
He has two sons from his current wife Sarah and a daughter from a previous marriage.
-“security man” –
Netanyahu defied accusations made in April by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who said he had decided to indict him for bribery, fraud and dishonesty, and announced he would run for a sixth term in the Knesset.
Netanyahu denies the charges and blames his political opponents for a malicious opposition campaign to topple him.
Netanyahu won the April election with his right-wing and religious coalition with a majority of seats, but failed to form a government and opted for early elections on September 17.
If Netanyahu wins next Tuesday, he is not legally obliged to step down after being charged unless convicted and all appeals are exhausted. Many expect him to seek immunity from parliament if he is re-elected.
Netanyahu faces a tough challenge from a centrist political alliance headed by respected former chief of staff Benny Gantz.
Netanyahu is trying to question Gantz’s credibility as a “weak leftist” despite his military background.
Few doubt Netanyahu’s political abilities and see him as a “security man” and his supporters say his strongest proof is that his opponents cannot challenge his leadership and defeat him.
“He is fighting for his life,” said Gideon Rahat of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Institute for Democracy.
He has campaigned with a mixture of divisive populism and attempts to portray himself as a world statesman by talking about his relations with foreign leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
– “Pragmatic” –
Labor has dominated Israeli politics for nearly three decades, until the Likud led by Menachem Begin succeeded in 1977, helping to kick off Netanyahu’s political career.
Netanyahu’s career began with his work at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and then as Israel’s delegate to the United Nations. He became the youngest prime minister in 1996 when he was 46, and was defeated in the 1999 elections.
Netanyahu returned to power in 2009 and remains.
For years, the peace process has stalled with the Palestinians, whom Netanyahu has ignored their demand to halt and freeze settlements.
His latest move was his pledge Tuesday to establish Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank and thus annex the area, should he be re-elected on September 17, while the Palestinians considered it “destructive to all chances for peace.”
He has often sought to avoid talking about Palestinians in isolation from security operations.
There were no surprises in how he launched his campaign. He cited Israeli strikes in Syria and Iraq against what he said were Iranian military targets and another operation in Lebanon he said was “against” Hezbollah.
Despite the growth of the economy under his reign and his emphasis on security, many say his policies deepen the divide and accuse him of following intimidation tactics and pitting Israelis against each other by criticizing those who disagree.
“The prime minister’s actions are driven by pragmatic considerations above all,” university student Neil Lochery said in a recent biography of the prime minister. “The problem the world has faced in dealing with Netanyahu is that he is not ideological, but very pragmatic and can change his mind,” he said.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
OBSERVATORY NEWS — Breaking news source, real-time coverage of the world’s events, life, politics, business, finance, economy, markets, war and conflict zones.
Contact us: [email protected]
Stay connected with News Observatory and Observatory Newsroom, also with our online services and never lost the breaking news stories happening around the world.
We are NEWS OBSERVATORY — the only funding and support we get from people – we are categorically not funded by any political party, any government somewhere or from any grouping that supports certain interests – the only support that makes OBSERVATORY possible came from you.