Netanyahu Gets His Chance to Enter History Books as Israel’s Longest-Ever Leader

By Joseph Hincks, Time Magazine


The continuing reign of King Bibi is all but guaranteed. Benjamin Netanyahu was on track to a record fifth term as Israel’s Prime Minister on April 10 after challenger Benny Gantz conceded defeat in what at first appeared to be a close contest. Both Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White parties won 35 seats in balloting a day earlier. What made the difference–a telling one–was the surge by the right-wing and religious parties that Netanyahu calls “natural partners” in a coalition that will hold a Knesset majority.

The outcome continues the transformation of Israel from a state dominated in its early decades by its leftist founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to the country poised to see Netanyahu surpass him as its longest-serving Prime Minister.

The election, framed as a referendum on Netanyahu’s leadership, was prefaced by Israel’s Attorney General confirming in February that he would indict the incumbent on bribery, fraud and breach-of-trust charges, pending hearings. Fighting for his political life, Netanyahu rallied against Israel’s media and judiciary on the campaign trail. He was accused of incitement against the country’s Arab voters, just as he had been during the 2015 vote.

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