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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Netanyahu Becomes Longest-Serving Israeli PM

JERUSALEM – Benjamin Netanyahu became on Saturday Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing David Ben-Gurion.

After over 13 years in office, Netanyahu surpassed Ben-Gurion, the founder of then-newborn State of Israel in 1948, having spent 4,876 days as prime minister.

With less than two months to go until the Sept. 17 elections, Netanyahu, who faces several corruption allegations, will seek another term in office in a bid to continue making history.

At the end of February, when the Attorney General announced he intended to charge Netanyahu with corruption, and the PM’s remaining in power seemed to falter.

But the circumstances did not have much of an impact on his leadership, something the outcome of the April 9 elections mirrored as his party won the biggest share of votes and took five more seats in Parliament than in the previous vote.

After his win – threatened by the rising popularity of his rival, general Benny Gantz – Netanyahu did not manage to form a coalition government.

Granted the green light by Parliament, he got to call a new election and thus he is acting prime minister.

Ahead of the new vote, Netanyahu remains the favorite to win and form a government.

In October, he is set to appear before the Attorney General, who could charge him with corruption, which would force him out of his position.

Netanyahu has managed to remain in charge since 2009, on top of the three years he spent as PM between 1996 and 1999.

The 69-year-old Netanyahu started his political career in 1982 as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and then he became Israel ambassador to the United Nations.

In 1988, he returned to Israel, where he became the youngest ever prime minister in the history of Israel at 46.

As his term was cut short, he abandoned politics to dedicate himself to business.

He returned to the political scene in late 2002 as foreign minister and later as minister of finance.

In the 2009 election, the Likud leader was the second-most voted candidate following Tzipi Livni, but the strength of his right-wing bloc enabled him to form a government.

He started his second term as prime minister, a position he would retain after the elections in 2013 and 2015, leading coalitions with more right-wing inclination.

His policies include fierce defense of the free market and maintaining the status quo regarding Jerusalem and the occupation of Palestinian territories.

 

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