Scandal-plagued Bibi beats Ben-Gurion to become longest-serving Israeli PM
The previous record of Israeli political longevity stood at 4,875 days and remained unmatched since 1963, when the nation’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, retired as prime minister. Not one of the other prime ministers in Israel’s history is anywhere close to these two in length of service.
Netanyahu held the highest executive office between June 1996 and July 1999 and again since March 2009. He is currently serving his fourth term, despite criticism over alleged corruption, political machinations, and cozying up to right-wing radicals to stay in power.
The 69-year-old ex-commando achieved the milestone at a time when his standing is being challenged by a political crisis following the inconclusive results of a snap parliamentary election in April that failed to produce a new ruling coalition. A repeat vote is scheduled for September 17, the first time Israel has held two elections in one year.
The prime minister may face an indictment on corruption charges, which was the course of action recommended by Israel’s attorney general. A formal hearing is to be held in August, weeks before the vote.
Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts from businessmen in exchange for political favors and colluding with the media to undermine political competition and gain positive coverage for himself. He denies the allegations, saying he is the victim of a witch hunt.Also on rt.com Netanyahu opens Trump Heights – a non-existent settlement in illegally-occupied Golan
Over Netanyahu's lengthy rule, Israel has been also imposing more restrictive policies on Palestinians in the name of national security, like ramping up the blockade of the West Bank and speeding up construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories. Supporters say these domestic policies are necessary to protect Israel’s national identity and curb terrorism. Opponents allege they are divisive and racist, and play to the darkest sides of his power base.
Netanyahu is also credited with conducting a successful foreign policy that resulted in numerous concessions from the US. Those range from largely symbolic if controversial gestures, like moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, to major policy changes, like unleashing an intensive pressure campaign against regional arch-rival Iran.
Critics would say these wins undermine the chances for a peaceful resolution of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and add to "impunity" in cracking down on Palestinians that Israel enjoys thanks to US protection. The latter has repeatedly blocked UN resolutions aiming for probes into Israeli’s deadly crackdown on Palestinian protests, which gained momentum after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem.
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