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Netanyahu Heading into History as Israel's Longest-Serving Prime Minister

07-17-2019
Benjamin Netanyahu AP 3
Benjamin Netanyahu AP 3

JERUSALEM, Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu will make history Saturday when he becomes the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history.

Netanyahu has been prime minister of Israel for 13 years, a record that will soon surpass that of Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion. The 69-year-old Netanyahu also holds the record for being Israel's youngest elected prime minister. 

Netanyahu's supporters credit him with keeping Israel safe and prosperous, maintaining its Jewish character and boosting its standing internationally.

"He thinks that he is the right guy in the right place. That he is the one who will save Israel and lead Israel to a safe haven," former Netanyahu aide Aviv Bushinsky told AP. Israelis believe "things are good, so why should we change a winning horse," he added.

His opponents claim he's dashed hopes for peace with the Palestinians, viciously attacked minority Arabs and left-wing opponents, and brought a culture of corruption to Israeli politics.

"His rule has been characterized by conservatism and hesitancy," said opposition lawmaker Tamar Zandberg. "If he is going to be remembered for anything it's going to be his idleness."

Netanyahu is known for being a strong voice against the Iran nuclear deal, allowing Jewish settlements in the West Bank to flourish, and for being a hardliner against Israel's terrorist enemies. 

Netanyahu will face what may be his greatest political challenge in September when he endures yet another vote for re-election in Israeli elections.

His party won the election in April, but Israel has a parliamentary form of government, and he was unable to build a majority coalition within Israel's Knesset before the deadline, forcing Israel into another election. 
    

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