June 26, 2019

5th term for Benjamin Netanyahu

Friday, 12 April 2019, State of Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the Israeli national election, securing a record fifth term in office despite running neck-and-neck with his challenger General (ret) Benny Gantz.

The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and record in the face of corruption allegations. In power since 2009, and having led the country for a total 13 years including his first term in the 1990s, Netanyahu had been struggling for his political survival.

Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship vis-à-vis President Donald Trump, who delighted Israelis and angered Palestinians by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moving the American Embassy to the latter city last May.Two weeks before the election, Trump signed a proclamation, with Netanyahu at his side at the White House, acknowledging Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The latter in accordance to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pre-election promise, which was widely seen as an attempt to draw right-wing votes rather than a change of policy. Some political analysts fear that with Trump’s moves on Jerusalem, as well as the Golan, the prime minister may feel emboldened to advocate for annexation, in spite of the opposition by most members of the international community. 

President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday, 17 April, commissioned Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of forming a government after 65 out of 120 deputies recommended him. Netanyahu has 28 days to comply, with a two-week extension possible, if necessary.

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