Benjamin Netanyahu elected prime minister of Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu elected prime minister of Israel


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres is narrowly defeated in national elections by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres, leader of the Labor Party, became prime minister in 1995 after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist.

Netanyahu, who promised to be tough on terrorism and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was at 47 the youngest prime minister elected in the country’s history. Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, he served in the Israel Defense Forces and during the 1980s was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. In 1988, he was elected to the Israeli parliament and served as deputy minister of foreign affairs from 1988 to 1991. In 1993, he became the Likud leader and three years later Israeli prime minister.

On May 18, 1999, after three years as prime minister, a stalled peace process, and epidemic political in-fighting within his cabinet led to his electoral defeat by Labor challenger Ehud Barak. During his concession speech that evening, Netanyahu also resigned as Likud Party leader.

Netanyahu was reelected as prime minister in 2009, 2013 and 2015. In the 2019 election, he failed to form a governing coalition. Since 2016, he has been facing charges of corruption, and was indicted in 2019.


Benjamin Netanyahu Calls New Israeli Government ‘Biggest Election Scam, Maybe, in History’

7,079 Yonatan Sindel / Associated Press

Israel’s new government is facing a crisis of legitimacy as a prime minister whose party won only 6% of the vote is set to take the reins of government, while the party that won the most votes is being pushed out of office and into opposition.

The crisis is exacerbated by the fact that incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of the Yamina party betrayed most of his promises to his voters, including a pledge not to govern with Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party, or with Arab parties.

There are parallel to the 2020 election in the U.S. Though few claim that the Israeli election was “stolen,” as the country has in-person, hand-counted voting, there is a sense on the Israeli political right that the result was manipulated unfairly.

Moreover, incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under investigation for years, and faces trial on rather flimsy charges. And Israelis are perplexed that Bennett, a politician with a small constituency, could have emerged the winner.

There is even the presence of an Israeli parallel to the Republican Party’s “Never Trump” faction — political rivals on the right, such as Bennet, Gideon Sa’ar, and Avigdor Lieberman, who have broken with Netanyahu, ostensibly on principle.

On Sunday, Netanyahu condemned the incoming government, which has yet to be confirmed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. He called it “a scam against the public. The biggest election scam, maybe, in history,” the Times of Israel noted.

Netanyahu argued that the new government would not be able to withstand pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden to accept the Iran nuclear deal, and that it would be weak against Palestinian terror, given its reliance on an Islamist party.

Authorities are concerned that public outrage could turn violent. There have been demonstrations outside the homes of Yamina members of the Knesset, some of whom have suffered personal threats. Netanyahu has condemned incitement against his rivals, but claimed that he and his Likud Party have suffered worse.

There is also concern about a Jerusalem Day parade that was postponed last month because of the war with Hamas, and which could attract far-right participants.

Polls suggest that the Israeli public prefers the Bennet-Lapid government to a fifth round of elections this fall. But if the Bennett government takes office, it would probably be unstable, as Bennett has lost even the support of his own voters.


Netanyahu's Legacy After 12 Years As Israel's Prime Minister

Benjamin Netanyahu ends the longest term for any Israeli prime minister, 12 years, with a history of alliance with U.S. Republicans.

Though the outcome of the vote in Israel's Parliament yesterday was anticipated, it was not without tumult.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Non-English language spoken).

Amid the heckling and by a one-vote margin, Naftali Bennett became prime minister of Israel, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett is a former ally and aide to Netanyahu. They're both right-wing politicians. But Bennett is backed by a coalition from the left, right and center that was united in the desire for a new leader, someone not so divisive as Netanyahu or facing a corruption trial, as he is.

SHAPIRO: Netanyahu answered with a speech calling the new government dangerous and vowing to continue fighting to return his Likud Party to power. He punctuated the point in English.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: (Non-English language spoken). We'll be back soon. We'll be back.

CORNISH: He says he'll be back, but this chapter is over. And we're going to remember some of the big moments. Benjamin Netanyahu led Israel's government for 12 straight years, a record, and he had a deep impact on the politics of Israel at home and around the world.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Daniel Estrin has covered Netanyahu's prime ministership, traveled with him and chronicled how Israel changed under his leadership. He joins us from Jerusalem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Let's start with how Netanyahu would characterize his own impact. I mean, how did he cast himself?

ESTRIN: He really fashioned himself as this American-style politician. He has perfect English. He's this modern, kind of business-forward leader who helped his small country punch above its weight in the global economy. I remember a talk he gave a couple years ago at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: But if, you know, you had a chance to write your own legacy.

ESTRIN: And he was asked how he would describe his legacy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: What would you want people to say about what you've done?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: Defender of Israel.

ESTRIN: . Defender of Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: . Liberator of its economy.

ESTRIN: . Liberator of its economy. Under Netanyahu's leadership, Israel became more of a free market economy. Israel largely avoided the global financial crisis.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: . To some good news. There is some good news in terms.

ESTRIN: And it was one of the first economies to reopen after the pandemic, thanks to Netanyahu securing Pfizer vaccines early. And he was praised for that.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: . Coming out of Israel because, in a lot of ways, they have really been the model. They.

ESTRIN: And on security, Netanyahu is known as Mr. Security. He oversaw three wars with Hamas and Gaza. He accelerated tensions with Iran. But compared to other periods, though there still were many casualties among Palestinians, during his leadership relatively few Israelis were killed in violence.

SHAPIRO: He expanded Israel's role on the world stage, traveling from country to country, meeting with world leaders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: My friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, welcome to Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: President Duterte, welcome to Israel.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about what he was doing in all of these high-level meetings.

ESTRIN: What stood out for Netanyahu, internationally, I think, was his relations with right-wing populist leaders around the world, leaders like Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ESTRIN: Even Viktor Orban of Hungary, a leader who's downplayed his nation's role in the Holocaust.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: . Orban. Viktor, welcome to Jerusalem.

ESTRIN: And, of course, he aligned himself with former President Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: Mr. President, my dear friend, Donald.

ESTRIN: Now, many Israelis, especially progressive Israelis, saw Netanyahu as eroding their country's democracy and aligning with leaders who themselves eroded their democracies.

SHAPIRO: And the relationship with the U.S., of course, was one of the most important international relationships. Over the 12 years that he was prime minister, Netanyahu really aligned Israel with the Republican Party, which was a shift. When did this become apparent?

ESTRIN: He did. Israel traditionally had bipartisan support in the U.S., and that's going back all the way to Israel's founding in 1948. But one of Netanyahu's legacies is that under his administration, Israel did become a partisan issue in the U.S. He aligned Israel and his government with the Christian evangelical community and also with the Republican Party. He embraced his old friend, Mitt Romney, when Romney, a Republican, was running against President Obama in 2012. And then when Obama was negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran, that is what led to a very public rupture in Netanyahu's relations with Democrats because Republicans invited Netanyahu to speak at Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN BOEHNER: The prime minister of Israel, his excellency, Benjamin Netanyahu.

ESTRIN: . Essentially going behind Obama's back in doing so. He made a speech critical of the Iran nuclear deal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle but lose the war. We can't let that happen.

ESTRIN: That was a key moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I just want to say, Mr. President.

ESTRIN: But the partisanship really peaked when Trump was elected.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: The alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger, never been.

ESTRIN: Trump was blamed for a wave of anti-Semitism in the U.S. early in his tenure, and Netanyahu came to his defense.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NETANYAHU: There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.

ESTRIN: And Netanyahu even campaigned for election with billboards featuring photos of himself posing with Trump.

SHAPIRO: So much of this has centered around the way Netanyahu has handled Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, also the treatment of Palestinians inside Israel who are citizens of the country. Talk about what Netanyahu's strategy looked like there.

ESTRIN: Netanyahu's strategy was to try to prove that Israel could flourish on the world stage without needing to give in to Palestinian demands, like the demand to establish a Palestinian state in land that Israel occupies. And for many years, Netanyahu kind of proved that that could be true. And as for the two-state solution - ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, allowing a Palestinian state next to Israel - I think Netanyahu, in his more than a decade straight in office, strengthened a divide between Palestinians. He undermined the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Jewish settlement-building in the West Bank continued and grew, taking up land the Palestinians hoped would be reserved for their own country. And now today, many here will say the two-state solution is dead.

SHAPIRO: And this worked for a long time. I mean, he held office for 12 years, longer than any other Israeli prime minister. What changed?

ESTRIN: Netanyahu had this divisive leadership style. It helped him win elections, but it made many Israelis sick of him. And there is a sense that Netanyahu, by the end, was paralyzing a country, trying to hold onto power. And people, even those who appreciated so many aspects of his leadership, felt like it was time for a change.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR&rsquos programming is the audio record.


What has Benjamin Netanyahu said on the Israel-Palestine conflict?

This week Netanyahu said that military operations in Gaza will continue with “full force”

The Israeli PM’s warning came after 42 Palestinians are reported to have died following an overnight airstrike that crushed three buildings.

Mr Netanyahu said in a televised speech: “Our campaign against the terrorist organisations is continuing with full force.

“We are acting now, for as long as necessary, to restore calm and quiet to you, Israel's citizens. It will take time.”

Netanyahu confirmed the targeted attack on Hamas was a success and reminded the group and its supporters of Israel’s supreme stamina and firepower.

"We eliminated senior Hamas commanders and this is just the beginning," he said.

"We will inflict blows on them that they couldn't even dream of."

Netanyahu has vowed to expand the offensive, saying "this will take time".

But, in a televised address last night, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said: "If Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it."

Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the Jewish-Arab Israeli city of Lod on Tuesday night.


Benjamin Netanyahu replaced as Israeli prime minister after 12 years in office

(JTA) — After 12 years, seven elections and three corruption charges, Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer the prime minister of Israel.

Netanyahu, who served as Israel’s leader continuously beginning in 2009 and holds the distinction of being the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was removed from the job in a razor-thin vote in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Sunday. The vote, 60-59, installed a new government with the narrowest of majorities, composed of eight parties spanning Israel’s political spectrum and dedicated to one goal: ending the Netanyahu era.

The new government is headed by Naftali Bennett, a right-wing former deputy of Netanyahu who broke away from him. Bennett is the son of American immigrants to Israel and as an adult lived for a time in New York City. He speaks fluent English.

In an address before the vote, Bennett thanked Netanyahu for his years of service, even as members of Netanyahu’s Likud party heckled him and shouted in attempts to drown out his speech. Bennett pledged to work on behalf of all Israelis and extricate Israel from the electoral crisis that has frozen its politics for two years, sending Israelis to the polls in four largely inconclusive elections since 2019.

“We are facing an internal challenge, a divide in the people that is being seen at these very moments,” he said as the shouting continued.

Bennett’s governing coalition is remarkable and unprecedented in ways that also make it appear precarious. It is the first government in Israeli history to include an independent Arab-Israeli party, the Islamist Raam, as a partner. It includes parties that are both staunchly right wing and staunchly left wing, in addition to two centrist parties. It has a record number of women serving as ministers. It was made possible only because several former close allies of Netanyahu joined his rivals.

That group of Netanyahu defectors includes Bennett, whose Yamina party holds only six of the Knesset’s 120 seats but served as a linchpin for the new coalition. The largest party in the coalition is the centrist Yesh Atid, which is headed by Yair Lapid. Lapid is slated to take over as prime minister in 2023, and until then will serve as foreign minister.

Speaking before the parliament on Sunday, Lapid opted to skip his written speech and denounced the hecklers. He also apologized to his mother for the spectacle.

“I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process,” Lapid said. “Instead she and every other citizen is ashamed of you, and reminded of why it is necessary to replace you.”

The day was not without drama, a fitting end to recent weeks in which the future shape of the Israeli government was tense and uncertain.

Netanyahu, who has called the new government dangerous and fraudulent, has put heavy pressure on the incoming coalition’s right-wing members to return to his side. In his final speech as prime minister, delivered ahead of the vote, Netanyahu attempted to remind members of the parliament why he should remain as prime minister, running through a list of his accomplishments and warning that the new government would not be able to stand up to the security threats facing Israel, particularly from Iran.

“The prime minister of Israel must be able to say no to the American government,” Netanyahu warned, referring to attempts by the Biden administration to revive the Iran deal.

Under the new government, Netanyahu is leader of the parliamentary opposition, which is mostly made up of his Likud party and its right-wing religious allies. (Ayman Odeh, a Knesset member and head of the Arab Joint List, welcomed the outgoing prime minister to the opposition in a tweet Sunday.) In his speech, Netanyahu predicted that the new government will not last long and he would soon return to power.

Whether that prediction bears out depends on how well the new, ideologically incongruous government can hold together. It is sharply divided on nearly all of the core questions facing Israeli society, from the future of the West Bank to LGBTQ rights.

One potential area of common ground involves religious policy. This is the first government since 2015 that does not include haredi Orthodox parties. That means state funding for haredi institutions may be cut, and Israel could see liberalization of its laws regarding Jewish conversion, public transportation on Shabbat and a space for non-Orthodox worship at the Western Wall.

For now, however, the new government has accomplished its primary objective: removing Netanyahu from office. Netanyahu, who also served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, had become nearly synonymous with Israel during his decade-plus in power.

He was known internationally for his campaign against the Iranian nuclear program and his close personal involvement in Israel’s relations with the United States — from his frosty attitude toward Barack Obama to his close friendship with Donald Trump. Within Israel, supporters hailed him for a long stretch of steady economic growth relative security, day to day, for Israelis close relationships with world leaders the string of normalization deals last year with several Arab states and, recently, a world-leading COVID vaccination drive.

Opponents in Israel derided him for maintaining the status quo regarding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, as well as for a persistent housing crisis. He passed a controversial law in 2018 defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, which critics said marginalized Israel’s Arab minority. American Jewish organizations as well as some secular Israelis also criticized him for perpetuating haredi control of Israel’s religious establishment to the exclusion of non-Orthodox Jews.

Except for a period of several years about a decade ago, Netanyahu has been a lifelong public opponent of a Palestinian state. In recent years, he had made pre-election promises to annex parts of the West Bank, which never ended up happening. And under Netanyahu, Israel conducted three major offensives against Hamas in Gaza, including the 2014 Gaza War and the recent fighting in May.

In 2019, Netanyahu was indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust — the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister went on criminal trial. The trial sparked a protest movement that demonstrated regularly outside the prime minister’s residence, calling on Netanyahu to resign.

Netanyahu has denied the charges and vowed to fight them. He persisted in office with a shrinking group of allies who proved too few to form a governing coalition. Last month, after considering joining a coalition with Netanyahu, Bennett instead worked with Lapid to assemble a “change government” that would remove Netanyahu from his position.


Benjamin Netanyahu: A Political Timeline

Benjamin Netanyahu , referred to by many as “Bibi,” was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. By 1963, his family had moved to Pennsylvania, where he attended high school.

At the age of 18, Netanyahu was drafted into the Israeli military, serving in Sayeret Matkal , an elite special operations unit. Over the next few years, he took part in several counter-terrorism missions, notably aiding in rescuing a hijacked plane at the Tel Aviv airport in 1972.

From 1972-76, Netanyahu attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , where he received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master’s in Business Management.

After his brother, Jonathan, was tragically killed in action while rescuing hostages from German leftist and Palestinian terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda in 1976, Netanyahu started an anti-terrorism foundation known as the Jonathan Institute . By 1982, Netanyahu had become a well-known public figure, serving as Israel’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, D.C. He became Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1984.

In 1988, Netanyahu was elected to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, for the first time as a member of the right-wing Likud party. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs until 1991, when he became deputy minister in then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s office.

Continuing to gain traction, Netanyahu was elected chairman of the Likud party in 1993.

Netanyahu’s First Administration: 1996-99

June 1996: Elected prime minister for the first time by a margin of only approximately one percent. He was the first Israeli prime minister to be born after the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, as well as the first to be directly elected.

September 1996: First met with Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat.

January 1997: Agreed to a partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from Hebron, in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Accords. However, he was pressured by his coalition to decrease the amount of land given to the Palestinians during subsequent withdrawals.

“Once again, the forces of peace have prevailed over a history of divisions.”
-Former US President Bill Clinton

October 1998: Additional peace talks with Arafat led to the signing of the Wye River Memorandum , an interim agreement outlining an exchange of land for a decrease in Palestinian terrorism. Many members of Netanyahu’s coalition resigned in protests, leading to the government’s dissolution.

May 1999: Ehud Barak’s Labor Party easily defeated Likud, ending Netanyahu’s term as prime minister. He subsequently resigned from the Knesset and Ariel Sharon took over as leader of the Likud.

Netanyahu in the Political Wilderness: 1999-2009

Post-loss 1999-2002: Removed himself from the political sphere, serving as a consultant in the private sector for high-tech companies.

November 2002: With prime minister Sharon’s coalition in turmoil and an election looming, Netanyahu accepted Sharon’s offer to become minister of foreign affairs , thus setting the stage for his return to the Knesset.

February 2003: Became minister of finance, though he remained a member of Sharon’s cabinet.

December 2005: Sharon left the Likud to form the Kadima party. In turn, Netanyahu was elected leader of the Likud.

March 2006: Kadima wins an election, with Netanyahu again becoming leader of the opposition.

February 2009: A close election resulted in Likud obtaining one less seat than Kadima, generating uncertainty regarding whether Netanyahu or Tzipi Livni would be asked to form a governing coalition.

Netanyahu Reassumed Premiership

March 2009: After successfully garnering support from Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas, in addition to several smaller parties, Netanyahu was sworn in for his second term as prime minister.

June 2009: Expressed support for a hypothetical Palestinian state if it remained demilitarized and its leaders agreed to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian officials quickly rejected the overture.

November 2009: Announced that Israel would impose an unprecedented 10-month freeze on construction in West Bank settlements, describing the move as an attempt to restart stalled peace negotiations.

September 2010: Met with US President Barack Obama, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordanian King Abdullah II, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, D.C. to discuss peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Attended a second meeting with Abbas in Egypt to further negotiate peace agreements.

May 2011: Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement, leading Netanyahu to urge Abbas to cancel the agreement and elect to work on peace with Israel. At a meeting with US Congress, Netanyahu declared his intentions to make compromises for peace with the Palestinians, though he emphasized that Israel did not intend to return to the boundaries that existed before the Six-Day War in 1967.

October 2012: The Knesset voted to dissolve after disagreeing on the budget for 2013, as well as disputes over whether to allow Haredi Jews to be exempted from serving in the IDF.

January 2013: Netanyahu and Likud remained in power after the election, though the new centrist party Yesh Atid had gained traction, taking the second-most amount of seats in the Knesset.

October 2013: While addressing the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu condemned Iran for attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.

“A wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.”
Netanyahu about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

July 2014: Netanyahu kickstarted a 50-day military operation in the Gaza Strip after Hamas launched rockets into Israel. He received significant international backlash due to the large number of Palestinian casualties.

December 2014: Disagreements within the coalition regarding budgeting, and a bill that would formally declare Israel as a Jewish state, led Netanyahu to ask Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid to resign from his cabinet. The Knesset dissolved, setting an early election in 2015.

March 2015: Attended a meeting with US Congress to address Iran’s nuclear activity and the Obama administration’s Iran policy. This sparked controversy, as House Speaker John Boehner did not inform the White House beforehand. Critics believed US bipartisan support for Israel was jeopardized due to Netanyahu’s open opposition to the Obama administration. However, Netanyahu and the Likud Party still managed to retain their power in the Knesset after the March 17th election.

January 2017: Israeli authorities began to suspect Netanyahu of corruption, though he denied the charges.

February 2018: The police announced that there was sufficient evidence suggesting that Netanyahu was guilty of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

July 2018: The controversial Nation-State Bill is passed into law. The law now formally states that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Benjamin Netanyahu described the passage of the new law as “a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the State of Israel. We enshrined in law the basic principle of our existence.”

Netanyahu Faces Indictment and a Struggling Coalition: 2018-2021

November 2018: After intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, Netanyahu struck a truce, causing Avigdor Lieberman to resign from his cabinet position and withdraw his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, from the coalition. Lieberman’s resignation directly caused a political stalemate, leading to the dissolution of the Knesset and the first in a sequence of elections.

February 2019: Netanyahu was officially indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. His hearings were not set until after the election.

April-May 2019: Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister for the fifth time, though neither he nor his rivals were able to form a coalition, prompting another election.

July 2019: After serving more than 4,875 days in office, Netanyahu became the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since the first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.

September-October 2019: For the second time, Netanyahu failed to form a coalition and obtain a majority of seats in the Knesset. Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearings began.

December 2019: Gideon Sa’ar challenged Netanyahu for leadership over the Likud party, but the premier retained control.

January 2020: Netanyahu was formally indicted after withdrawing his appeal for parliamentary immunity.

March 2020: In the third election in under a year, Likud, together with other parties who would likely have formed a coalition, gained 59 seats in the Knesset – just short of a majority.

April-May 2020: Again, Netanyahu struggled to form a coalition, though because of COVID, he formed an emergency unity government with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, thus retaining his premiership. Gantz became Alternative Prime Minister, meaning he was, at the time, set to take over after 18 months.

May 2020: Trials on Netanyahu’s corruption charges began in Jerusalem’s District Court.

September 2020: Netanyahu signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This was the first time Israel signed a peace agreement with an Arab country since it established ties with Jordan in 1994.

December 2020: The Knesset failed to pass the 2021 budget, causing the emergency government to dissolve.

March-April 2021: After a new round of elections, Likud fell short of a majority and Netanyahu failed to form a government coalition.

June 2021: Less than 30 minutes before the deadline, Yair Lapid and Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett announced a joint coalition. In a vote of only 60-59, Bennett was officially elected Prime Minister, ending Netanyahu’s 12 years in power.


After 12 Netanyahu years, transfer of power crucially affirms Israeli democracy

David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He is the author of "Still Life with Bombers" (2004) and "A Little Too Close to God" (2000), and co-author of "Shalom Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin" (1996). He previously edited The Jerusalem Post (2004-2011) and The Jerusalem Report (1998-2004).

Sunday’s election of a new coalition government in Israel, by a wafer-thin 60-59 votes, does not mark a dramatic ideological shift, even though its eight constituent parties span the political spectrum.

The Knesset that Israel’s voters chose on March 23 has a clear right-wing majority. And if Benjamin Netanyahu had stepped aside in the past few weeks, his would-be Likud successor Nir Barkat correctly noted in an interview on Saturday night, that right-wing Knesset majority would have seen a right-wing coalition retaining power.

What the change in government does mark, however, is a crucial reaffirmation of Israel’s democratic process, achieved despite the Netanyahu-promoted climate of demonization, the charges of treachery leveled at some of the new coalition’s members, the threats of violence.

Netanyahu and his loyalists have branded his ouster as illegitimate — the greatest fraud in the history of Israel and world democracy, according to Netanyahu himself. Numerous MKs now heading into the opposition reiterated this charge during their disgraceful heckling throughout Naftali Bennett’s speech in the Knesset Sunday their orchestrated spite, and Netanyahu’s own long, dishonorable and derisive address, stood in dispiriting contrast to the incoming prime minister’s effort to talk of conciliation.

The change of government is, of course, neither fraudulent nor illegitimate. It properly reflects, rather, the composition of a narrow parliamentary majority unified in the belief that ending Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power was, as New Hope’s Gideon Sa’ar put it during the election campaign, Israel’s most urgent political need.

The name ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’ and the title ‘prime minister’ had become almost synonymous in Israel. A young generation has grown up here that has never known another prime minister

The name “Benjamin Netanyahu” and the title “prime minister” had become almost synonymous in Israel. A young generation has grown up here that has never known another prime minister.

The record-breaking prime minister has utilized a formidable array of skills to retain power legitimately for (the statisticians tell us) 4,457 days since 2009. And now his opponents have mustered theirs to legitimately consign him to the opposition benches.

A coalition of consensus or collapse

Newly voted into office, this wildly implausible coalition is already being written off by some analysts as inevitably short-lived, with a single MK here or there capable of derailing its every move. The abstention in Sunday’s confidence vote of Ra’am MK Said al-Harumi, reducing the anticipated majority from 61-59 to 60-59, underlined its fragility.

Netanyahu — who declared Sunday that it does not deserve to lead Israel for so much as a day, and that “in Iran, they’re celebrating” its arrival — promised to bring it down “faster than you think.” His longtime ultra-Orthodox political partners, who seem to have convinced themselves that their not being in government is a breach of divine will, are vowing to help him do so.

But Netanyahu is the glue that holds the new coalition together. The more determinedly he battles to regain power, the more he unifies his otherwise unthinkable mix of governing adversaries.

Since they can only survive if they all work together, however, the least ideologically cohesive government in the history of Israel must, by definition, function via consensus. This will limit its capacity for advancing divisive policies and legislation, and force it to focus on matters of genuinely wide benefit. After two years of political paralysis and dysfunctional government, there is plenty of scope.

The document guiding the new coalition, its list of “key principles,” necessarily deals with precisely such areas of consensus — investigating the Meron disaster , building hospitals and airports, tackling crime in the Arab sector, working to lower housing costs, and numerous other such issues that any competent Israeli government should have long since prioritized. There is an opportunity here, too, to step up the neglected fight against the blight of financial corruption, including by bolstering police and state prosecution resources. Likewise, the new government is committed to quickly passing a state budget — rectifying the atrocious situation whereby, because of Netanyahu’s maneuverings, Israel has functioned without an updated budget since the end of 2019.

The new coalition can only be a government of national healing. Otherwise, it will not be a government at all

The new coalition can only be a government of national healing. Otherwise, it will not be a government at all. In coming together, the leaders of Yesh Atid, Yamina, Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor, New Hope, Meretz, and Ra’am have publicly recognized that many of their own ideological goals will have to be put aside in the wider cause of coalition consensus. If that recognition fades, so too will the coalition’s alliances. “What we agree on, we’ll take forward,” said Bennett in his Sunday speech. “What we differ on, we’ll put aside for now.”

Crises everywhere

Wide and diverse though it may be, the new government is emphatically not to every Israeli’s taste, and neither does it inspire every Israeli’s trust. Far from it.

Bennett himself failed to win enough votes even to make it into the Knesset as recently as two years ago he wasn’t able to keep his small Yamina party united behind him as he pushed for this coalition in recent weeks he flipped and flopped about partnering, or not partnering, with Netanyahu. None of this inspires great confidence in the man now ultimately responsible for the dependable decision-making essential to keeping Israel secure.

The potential for crisis is immediate and plentiful. A highly controversial “flag march” is planned for Jerusalem on Tuesday. Hamas is issuing threats. The Sheikh Jarrah evictions in East Jerusalem are a ticking time bomb. Israel’s enemies will be looking for ways to test the new leadership Israel’s friends will be warily watching how it copes.

But then such challenges are the common test for all new, and by definition, untried governments. One of the reasons Netanyahu became so hard to dislodge was the public’s knowledge that whoever succeeded him would be less experienced, less well-connected, less familiar with the minefields of safeguarding Israel, inside and out. Remarkably, such concerns were ultimately outweighed for 60 MKs from eight parties, brought together less by Bennett than by the man who intends to succeed him on August 27, 2023, Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid.

And thus Israel’s capacity to change its leadership, via a bitter, unedifying, but ultimately orderly transfer of power, was demonstrated afresh on Sunday, reaffirmed after 12 years. If this new coalition does nothing else, that in itself is a vital and extraordinary achievement.

I’ll tell you the truth: Life here in Israel isn’t always easy. But it's full of beauty and meaning.

I'm proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who pour their hearts into their work day in, day out, to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place.

I believe our reporting sets an important tone of honesty and decency that's essential to understand what's really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right.

Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, enables us to continue our work. Would you join our Community today?

Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we come to work every day - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.


Benjamin Netanyahu replaced as Israeli prime minister after 12 years in office

(JTA) — After 12 years, seven elections and three corruption charges, Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer the prime minister of Israel.

Netanyahu, who served as Israel’s leader continuously beginning in 2009 and holds the distinction of being the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was removed from the job in a razor-thin vote in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Sunday. The vote, 60-59, installed a new government with the narrowest of majorities, composed of eight parties spanning Israel’s political spectrum and dedicated to one goal: ending the Netanyahu era.

The new government is headed by Naftali Bennett, a right-wing former deputy of Netanyahu who broke away from him. Bennett is the son of American immigrants to Israel and as an adult lived for a time in New York City. He speaks fluent English.

In an address before the vote, Bennett thanked Netanyahu for his years of service, even as members of Netanyahu’s Likud party heckled him and shouted in attempts to drown out his speech. Bennet pledged to work on behalf of all Israelis. and to extricate Israel from the electoral crisis that has frozen its politics for two years, sending Israelis to the polls in four largely inconclusive elections since 2019.

“We are facing an internal challenge, a divide in the people that is being seen at these very moments,” he said as the shouting continued.

Bennett’s governing coalition is remarkable and unprecedented in ways that also make it appear precarious. It is the first government in Israeli history to include an independent Arab-Israeli party, the Islamist Raam, as a partner. It includes parties that are both staunchly right-wing and staunchly left-wing, in addition to two centrist parties. It has a record number of women serving as ministers. It was made possible only because several former close allies of Netanyahu joined his rivals.

That group of Netanyahu defectors includes Bennett, whose Yamina party holds only six of the Knesset’s 120 seats but served as a linchpin for the new coalition. The largest party in the coalition is the centrist Yesh Atid, which is headed by Yair Lapid. Lapid is slated to take over as prime minister in 2023, and will serve as foreign minister until then.

Choosing to skip his prewritten speech Sunday, Lapid denounced the hecklers in the parliament and apologized to his mother for the spectacle.

“I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process. Instead, she and every other citizen is ashamed of you, and reminded of why it is necessary to replace you,” he said.

The day was not without drama, a fitting end to recent weeks in which the future shape of the Israeli government was tense and uncertain. Netanyahu, who has called the new government dangerous and fraudulent, has put heavy pressure on the incoming coalition’s right-wing members to return to his side. In his final speech as prime minister, delivered ahead of the vote, he attempted to remind members of the parliament why he should remain as prime minister, running through a list of his accomplishments and warning that the new government would not be able to stand up to the security threats Israel would face, particularly from Iran.

“The prime minister of Israel must be able to say no to the American government,” Netanyahu warned, referring to attempts by the Biden administration to revive the Iran deal.

Under the new government, Netanyahu is leader of the parliamentary opposition, which is mostly made up of his Likud party and its right-wing religious allies. (Ayman Odeh, a Knesset member and head of the Arab Joint List, welcomed the outgoing prime minister to the opposition in a tweet Sunday.) In his speech, Netanyahu predicted that the new government will not last long, and that he would soon return to power.

Whether that prediction bears out depends on how well the new, ideologically incongruous government can hold together. It is sharply divided on nearly all of the core questions facing Israeli society — from the future of the West Bank to LGBTQ rights.

One potential area of common ground involves religious policy. This is the first government since 2015 that does not include haredi Orthodox parties. That means state funding for haredi institutions may be cut, and Israel could see liberalization of its laws regarding Jewish conversion, public transportation on Shabbat and a space for non-Orthodox worship at the Western Wall.

For now, however, the new government has accomplished its primary objective: removing Netanyahu from office. Netanyahu, who also served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, had become nearly synonymous with Israel during his decade-plus in power.

He was known internationally for his campaign against the Iranian nuclear program and for his close personal involvement in Israel’s relations with the United States — from his frosty attitude toward Barack Obama to his close friendship with Donald Trump. Within Israel, supporters hailed him for a long stretch of steady economic growth relative security, day-to-day, for Israelis close relationships with world leaders the string of normalization deals last year with several Arab states and, recently, a world-leading COVID vaccination drive.

Opponents in Israel derided him for maintaining the status quo regarding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, as well as for a persistent housing crisis. He passed a controversial law in 2018 defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, which critics said marginalized Israel’s Arab minority. American Jewish organizations as well as some secular Israelis also criticized him for perpetuating haredi control of Israel’s religious establishment, to the exclusion of non-Orthodox Jews.

Except for a period of several years about a decade ago, Netanyahu has been a lifelong public opponent of a Palestinian state. In recent years, he had made pre-election promises to annex parts of the West Bank, which never ended up happening. And under Netanyahu, Israel conducted three major offensives against Hamas in Gaza, including the 2014 Gaza War and the recent fighting in May.

In 2019, Netanyahu was indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust — the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister went on criminal trial. The trial sparked a protest movement that demonstrated regularly outside the prime minister’s residence, calling on Netanyahu to resign.

Netanyahu has denied the charges and vowed to fight them. He persisted in office with a shrinking group of allies who proved too few to form a governing coalition. Last month, after considering joining a coalition with Netanyahu, Bennett instead worked with Lapid to assemble a “change government” that would remove Netanyahu from his position. PJC


Brother's legacy

Benjamin Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. In 1963 his family moved to the US when his father Benzion, a prominent historian and Zionist activist, was offered an academic post.

At the age of 18, he returned to Israel, where he spent five distinguished years in the army, serving as a captain in an elite commando unit, the Sayeret Matkal. He took part in a raid on Beirut's airport in 1968 and fought in the 1973 Middle East war.

After his military service, Mr Netanyahu went back to the US, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In 1976, Mr Netanyahu's brother, Jonathan, was killed leading a raid to rescue hostages from a hijacked airliner in Entebbe, Uganda. His death had a profound impact on the Netanyahu family, and his name became legendary in Israel.

Mr Netanyahu set up an anti-terrorism institute in his brother's memory and in 1982 became Israel's deputy chief of mission in Washington.

Overnight, Mr Netanyahu's public life was launched. An articulate English speaker with a distinctive American accent, he became a familiar face on US television and an effective advocate for Israel.

He was appointed Israel's permanent representative at the UN in New York in 1984.


Israel’s Netanyahu lashes out as end of his era draws near

Benjamin Netanyahu says he is victim of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy, and speaks in apocalyptic terms about Israel without his leadership.

In what appear to be the final days of his historic 12-year rule, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not leaving the political stage quietly.

The longtime leader is accusing his opponents of betraying their voters, and some have needed special security protection.

Netanyahu said he is the victim of a “deep state” conspiracy. He speaks in apocalyptic terms when talking about the country without his leadership.

“They are uprooting the good and replacing it with the bad and dangerous,” Netanyahu told the conservative Channel 20 TV station this week. “I fear for the destiny of the nation.”

Such language has made for tense days as Netanyahu and his loyalists make a final desperate push to try to prevent a new government from taking office on Sunday. With his options running out, it has also provided a preview of Netanyahu as opposition leader.

For those who have watched Netanyahu dominate Israeli politics for much of the past quarter-century, his recent behaviour is familiar.

He frequently describes threats both large and small in stark terms. He has belittled his rivals and thrived by using divide-and-conquer tactics. He paints his Jewish opponents as weak, self-hating “leftists,” and Arab politicians as a potential fifth column of terrorist sympathisers.

He routinely presents himself in grandiose terms as the only person capable of leading the country through its never-ending security challenges.

“Under his term, identity politics are at an all-time high,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think-tank.

It is a formula that has served Netanyahu well. He has led the right-wing Likud party with an iron fist for more than 15 years, racking up a string of electoral victories that earned him the nickname, “King Bibi”.

He fended off pressure by President Barack Obama to make concessions to the Palestinians and publicly defied him in 2015 by delivering a speech in Congress against the United States-led nuclear agreement with Iran.

Although Netanyahu was unable to block the deal, he was richly rewarded by President Donald Trump, who recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, pulled out of the nuclear agreement and helped broker diplomatic pacts between Israel and four Arab nations.

Netanyahu has waged what appears to be a highly successful shadow war against Iran while keeping Israel’s longstanding conflict with the Palestinians at a slow boil, with the exception of three brief wars with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The situation with the Palestinians today is “remarkably the same” as when Netanyahu took office, Plesner said. “No major changes in either direction, no annexation and no diplomatic breakthroughs.”

But some of Netanyahu’s tactics now appear to be coming back to haunt him. The US’s new Biden administration has been cool to the Israeli leader, while Netanyahu’s close relationship with Trump has alienated large segments of the Democratic Party.

At home, Netanyahu’s magic also has dissipated – in large part due to his trial on corruption charges. He has lashed out at an ever-growing list of perceived enemies: the media, the judiciary, police, centrists, leftists and even hard-line nationalists who were once close allies.

In four consecutive elections since 2019, the once-invincible Netanyahu was unable to secure a parliamentary majority. Facing the unappealing possibility of a fifth consecutive election, eight parties managed to assemble a majority coalition that is set to take office on Sunday.

Israeli politics are usually split between dovish, left-wing parties that seek a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians, and religious and nationalist parties – long led by Netanyahu – that oppose Palestinian independence. If any of the recent elections had centred on the conflict, then right-wing parties alone would have formed a strong, stable majority.

But the Palestinians hardly came up – another legacy of Netanyahu, who has pushed the issue to the sidelines.

Instead, all anyone seemed to talk about was Netanyahu’s personality and his legal troubles, which proved to be deeply polarising. The incoming government includes three small parties led by former Netanyahu aides who had bitter breakups with him, including the presumed prime minister, Naftali Bennett.

Bennett and his right-wing partners even broke a longstanding taboo on allying with Arab parties. A small Islamist party, which Netanyahu had also courted, is to be the first to join a ruling coalition.

Netanyahu and his followers in Likud have grown increasingly desperate. Initially, Netanyahu tried to lure some “defectors” from his former allies to prevent them from securing a parliamentary majority.

When that failed, he resorted to language similar to that of his friend and benefactor Trump.

“We are witnesses to the greatest election fraud in the history of the country,” Netanyahu claimed at a Likud meeting this week. He has long dismissed the corruption trial as a “witch hunt” fuelled by “fake news,” and in the TV interview he said he was being hounded by the “deep state”.

His supporters have held threatening rallies outside the homes of lawmakers joining the new government. Some of the parliamentarians say they and their families have received death threats, and one said she was recently followed by a mysterious car.

Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox partners have, meanwhile, cast Bennett as a threat to their religion, with one even calling on him to remove his kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews.

Online incitement by Netanyahu’s followers has grown so bad that several members of the incoming government were assigned bodyguards or even moved to secret locations.

Some Israelis have drawn comparisons with the tensions that led to the insurrection at the US Capitol in January, while others have pointed to the incitement ahead of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

In a rare public statement, Nadav Argaman, the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, recently warned of a “serious rise and radicalization in violent and inciting discourse” on social media that he said could lead to violence.

Netanyahu has condemned the incitement while noting that he, too, has been a target.

Late on Thursday, Netanyahu’s Likud party issued a statement on Twitter in English saying his fraud comments were not directed at the vote-counting process and that he has “full confidence” in it. “There is also no question about the peaceful transition of power,” it said.

Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at the Hebrew University, said she expects the coming months to remain volatile.

“We’re going to see a very assertive and aggressive head of the opposition, meaning Netanyahu, determined to make sure that this coalition of change would be a short-lived one and that we will have another election as soon as possible,” she added.

“We don’t have even a memory of what normal politics looks like,” Talshir said.


Watch the video: Κοινές Δηλώσεις Πρωθυπουργού με τον Πρωθυπουργού του Ισραήλ Μπενιαμίν Νετανιάχου