Netanyahu becomes Israel's longest-serving prime minister

22 Juillet, 2019, 18:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  Getty Images

PM Netanyahu, who created history on July 20 by becoming the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister, surpassing Israel's first premier David Ben-Gurion, is facing a tough political challenge as opinion polls show flagging fortunes for his ruling Likud party. Much like Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu has doubled as Defense Minister and bolstered the military as part of an uncompromising distrust of Israel's neighbors and a doctrine of self-reliance.

He has never been at a loss for words in describing what he sees as his achievements.

In an interview published on Friday in Israel Hayom, a daily newspaper, Netanyahu said "we have turned Israel into a rising world power".

Netanyahu, the son of a historian clearly mindful of his legacy, has in the past compared himself to Ben-Gurion, though the two emerged from two different strains of Israeli ideology.

"A founding father is always beyond reproach", he said. He is also the first leader born after the creation of the state in 1948.

One of Netanyahu's main agendas has been preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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Only several years after the Holocaust, Ben-Gurion did what he could to pursue a nuclear option for Israel to prevent another genocide of the Jewish people.

Israel is widely perceived as the Middle East's sole nuclear-armed power, though it has never acknowledged the capability. Over the past year, he has resisted calls by hardline constituents to strike harder against jihadist groups in Gaza.

He will not be required to step down if indicted, only if convicted with all appeals exhausted, though he would likely face heavy political pressure.

Netanyahu has survived scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even though the country is growing more polarised.

Israeli lawmakers in May voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving the 21st Knesset (Parliament) and hold an unprecedented repeat general elections on September 17 after PM Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government.

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