BENJAMIN "BIBI" NETANYAHU (Hebrew : בִּנְיָמִין
"בִּיבִּי" נְתַנְיָהוּ (help ·info ); born 21
October 1949) is the current
Prime Minister of Israel . Netanyahu also
currently serves as a member of the
Knesset and Chairman of the Likud
Tel Aviv to secular Jewish parents, Netanyahu is the first
Israeli prime minister born in
Israel after the establishment of the
Netanyahu joined the
Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day
War in 1967, and became a team leader in the
Sayeret Matkal special
forces unit. Netanyahu took part in many missions, including Operation
Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972),
during which he was shot in the shoulder. Netanyahu fought on the
front lines in the
War of Attrition and the
Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War in 1973,
taking part in special forces raids along the
Suez Canal , and then
leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory. Netanyahu
achieved the rank of captain before being discharged.
After graduating from
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science (SB) and Master of
Science (SM) degrees, Netanyahu was recruited as an economic
consultant for the
Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group . Netanyahu returned to
Israel in 1978 to found the
Yonatan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute ,
named after his brother
Yonatan Netanyahu , who died leading Operation
Entebbe . Netanyahu served as the Israeli ambassador to the United
Nations from 1984 to 1988.
Netanyahu became the leader of
Likud in 1993. Netanyahu won the 1996
elections , becoming Israel's youngest ever Prime Minister, serving
his first term from June 1996 to July 1999. Netanyahu moved from the
political arena to the private sector after being defeated in the 1999
election for prime minister by
Ehud Barak . Netanyahu returned to
politics in 2002 as Foreign Affairs Minister (2002–2003) and Finance
Minister (2003–2005) in
Ariel Sharon 's governments, but he departed
the government over disagreements regarding the Gaza disengagement
plan . As Minister of Finance, Netanyahu engaged in a major reform of
the Israeli economy, which was credited by commentators as having
significantly improved Israel's subsequent economic performance.
Netanyahu retook the
Likud leadership in December 2005, after Sharon
left to form a new party,
In December 2006, Netanyahu became the official Leader of the
Opposition in the
Knesset and Chairman of Likud. Following the 2009
parliamentary election , in which
Likud placed second and right-wing
parties won a majority, Netanyahu formed a coalition government .
After the victory in the 2013 elections , he became the second person
to be elected to the position of Prime Minister for a third term,
after Israel's founder
David Ben-Gurion . In March 2015, Netanyahu was
elected to his fourth term as prime minister.
Netanyahu has been elected
Prime Minister of Israel four times,
matching David Ben-Gurion's record. Netanyahu is the only prime
minister in Israel's history to have been elected three times in a
row. Netanyahu is currently the second longest-serving Prime Minister
in Israel's history after David Ben-Gurion, and if his current
government lasts a full term, upon its completion he will become the
longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Israel.
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early life and career
* 1.2 Early political career, 1988–96
* 1.3 First premiership, 1996–99
* 1.4 Political downturn and recovery, 2000–03
* 1.5 Finance Minister, 2003–05
Likud leader and opposition leader, 2005–09
* 1.7 Second premiership, 2009–13
* 1.8 Third premiership, 2013–15
* 1.9 Fourth premiership, 2015–present
* 1.9.1 Criminal investigations
* 2 Political positions
* 2.1 Economic views
* 2.2 Views on counter-terrorism
* 2.3 LGBT rights
* 2.4 Ethiopian Jewish integration
* 2.5 African Hebrew Israelites of
* 2.7 Prior to second term as prime minister
* 2.8 Bar-Ilan speech
* 2.8.1 Arab reaction
* 2.8.2 Iranian reaction
* 2.8.3 Western reaction
* 2.9 Stalled peace talks
* 2.10 Unilateral withdrawals
* 2.11 Iran
* 2.12 Bank of China terror financing case
* 2.13 Defense and security
* 2.14 Illegal immigration
* 3 Personal life
* 3.1 Family
* 3.2 Marriages and relationships
* 3.3 Relations with foreign leaders
* 4 Authored books
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Netanyahu was born in 1949 in
Tel Aviv ,
Israel , to an Israeli-born
mother, Tzila Segal (28 August 1912 – 31 January 2000) and a Warsaw
-born father, Prof.
Benzion Netanyahu (1910–2012), the middle of
three children. He discovered via a DNA test that he is of part
Sephardi Jewish ancestry. He was initially raised and educated in
Jerusalem , where he attended Henrietta Szold Elementary School. A
copy of his evaluation from his 6th grade teacher Ruth Rubenstein
indicated that Netanyahu was courteous, polite, and helpful; that his
work was "responsible and punctual"; and that Netanyahu was friendly,
disciplined, cheerful, brave, active and obedient.
Between 1956 and 1958, and again from 1963 to 1967, his family lived
United States in
Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania , a suburb
Philadelphia , where he attended and graduated from
School and was active in a debate club . To this day, he speaks fluent
English, with a noticeable
Philadelphia accent .
After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to
Israel to enlist in the
Israel Defense Forces . He trained as a combat
soldier and served for five years in an elite special forces unit of
Sayeret Matkal . He took part in numerous cross-border
assault raids during the 1967–70
War of Attrition , rising to become
a team-leader in the unit. He was wounded in combat on multiple
occasions. He was involved in many other missions, including
Operation Inferno (1968), and the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight
571 in May 1972 in which he was shot in the shoulder.
After completing his army service in 1972, Netanyahu returned to the
United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT). He returned to
Israel in October 1973
to serve in the
Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War in the
Sayeret Matkal commando unit.
While there, he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal
against the Egyptian forces, before leading a commando attack deep
inside Syrian territory, whose mission remains classified today. I
have great respect for the unit. This is a unit that changes the
reality of our lives even though its actions are a secret. Although it
is a small unit, it influences all branches of the military ... My
service in the unit strengthened my understanding of the risks
involved behind approving operations and the risks that fighters are
taking on. It is tangible and not theoretical for me. Benjamin
Netanyahu, on Sayeret Matkal, (
He then returned to the
United States and under the name Ben Nitay,
completed an SB degree in architecture in February 1975 and earned
an SM degree from the
MIT Sloan School of Management in June 1976.
Concurrently, he was studying towards a doctorate in political
science, until his studies were broken off by the death of his
Operation Entebbe .
At MIT, Netanyahu studied a double-load, completing an SM (that would
normally take four years) in only two and a half years, despite taking
a break to fight in the Yom Kippur War, and while simultaneously
completing a thesis in a graduate course at Harvard. Professor
MIT recalled: "He did superbly. He was very bright.
Organized. Strong. Powerful. He knew what he wanted to do and how to
get it done."
At that time he changed his name to Benjamin Ben Nitai (Nitai, a
reference to both
Mount Nitai and to the eponymous Jewish sage Nittai
of Arbela , was a pen name often used by his father for articles).
Years later, in an interview with the media, Netanyahu clarified that
he decided to do so to make it easier for Americans to pronounce his
name. This fact has been used by his political rivals to accuse him
indirectly of a lack of Israeli national identity and loyalty.
In 1976 Netanyahu's older brother
Yonatan Netanyahu was killed.
Yonatan was serving as the commander of Benjamin's former unit, the
Sayeret Matkal, and died during the counter-terrorism hostage-rescue
Operation Entebbe in which his unit rescued more than 100
mostly Israeli hostages hijacked by terrorists and flown to the
Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Netanyahu studied at
MIT between 1972
and 1976, earning SB and SM degrees.
In 1976 Netanyahu graduated near the top of his class at the MIT
Sloan School of Management, and was headhunted to be an economic
consultant for the
Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group in Boston, Massachusetts,
working at the company between 1976 and 1978. At the Boston Consulting
Group, he was a colleague of
Mitt Romney , with whom he formed a
lasting friendship. Romney remembers that Netanyahu at the time was: "
strong personality with a distinct point of view", and says "e can
almost speak in shorthand... e share common experiences and have a
perspective and underpinning which is similar." Netanyahu said that
their "easy communication" was a result of "B.C.G.'s intellectually
rigorous boot camp."
In 1978, Netanyahu appeared on Boston local television, under the
name of 'Ben Nitai', where he argued: "The real core of the conflict
is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of
Israel ... For
20 years the Arabs had both the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and if
self-determination, as they now say, is the core of the conflict, they
could have easily established a Palestinian state."
In 1978, Netanyahu returned to Israel. Between 1978 and 1980 he ran
the Jonathan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute, a non-governmental
organization devoted to the study of terrorism; the Institute held a
number of international conferences focused on the discussion of
international terrorism. From 1980 to 1982 he was director of
marketing for Rim Industries in Jerusalem. During this period
Netanyahu made his first connections with several Israeli politicians,
Moshe Arens , who appointed him as his Deputy Chief
of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., a position he
held from 1982 until 1984. Between 1984 and 1988 Netanyahu served as
the Israeli ambassador to the
United Nations . Netanyahu was
influenced by Rabbi
Menachem M. Schneerson , with whom he formed a
relationship during the 1980s. He referred to Schneerson as "the most
influential man of our time."
It was while living in New York during the 1980s, that Netanyahu
became friends with
Fred Trump , the father of
Donald Trump .
EARLY POLITICAL CAREER, 1988–96
12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20
Minister of Science and Technology
Minister of Housing and Construction
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Finance
Minister of Economic Strategy
Minister of Pensioner Affairs
Minister of Health
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Public Diplomacy and
Minister of Communications
Minister of Pensioner Affairs
Minister of Economy , Foreign Affairs , Minister of Health and
Minister of Regional Cooperation
Netanyahu (right) with Sorin Hershko, a soldier wounded and
permanently paralyzed in
Operation Entebbe , 2 July 1986
Prior to the 1988 Israeli legislative election Netanyahu returned to
Israel and joined the
Likud party. In the Likud's internal elections,
Netanyahu was placed fifth on the party list. Later on he was elected
Knesset member of the 12th Knesset, and was appointed as a deputy
of the foreign minister
Moshe Arens , and later on David Levy .
Netanyahu and Levy did not cooperate and the rivalry between the two
only intensified afterwards. During the
Gulf War in early 1991, the
English-fluent Netanyahu emerged as the principal spokesman for Israel
in media interviews on
CNN and other news outlets. During the Madrid
Conference of 1991 Netanyahu was among members the Israeli delegation
headed by Prime Minister
Yitzhak Shamir . After the Madrid Conference
Netanyahu was appointed as Deputy Minister in the Israeli Prime
Following the defeat of the
Likud party in the 1992 Israeli
legislative elections the
Likud party held a primary election in 1993
to select its leader, and Netanyahu was victorious, defeating Benny
Begin , son of the late Prime Minister
Menachem Begin , and veteran
politician David Levy (Sharon initially sought
leadership as well, but quickly withdrew when it was evident that he
was attracting minimal support). Shamir retired from politics shortly
after the Likud's defeat in the 1992 elections.
Following the assassination of
Yitzhak Rabin , his temporary
Shimon Peres decided to call early elections in order to
give the government a mandate to advance the peace process. Netanyahu
was the Likud's candidate for Prime Minister in the 1996 Israeli
legislative election which took place on 26 May 1996 and were the
first Israeli elections in which
Israelis elected their Prime Minister
directly. Netanyahu hired American Republican political operative
Arthur Finkelstein to run his campaign, and although the American
style of sound bites and sharp attacks elicited harsh criticism from
inside Israel, it proved effective (the method was later copied by
Ehud Barak during the 1999 election campaign in which Barak beat
Netanyahu). When Netanyahu won the 1996 election , he became the
youngest person in the history of the position and the first Israeli
Prime Minister to be born in the State of
Yitzhak Rabin was
born in Jerusalem, under the British Mandate of Palestine, prior to
the 1948 founding of the Israeli state).
Netanyahu's victory over the pre-election favorite Shimon Peres
surprised many. The main catalyst in the downfall of the latter was a
wave of suicide bombings shortly before the elections; on 3 and 4
March 1996 , Palestinians carried out two suicide bombings , killing
32 Israelis, with Peres seemingly unable to stop the attacks. Unlike
Peres, Netanyahu did not trust
Yasser Arafat and conditioned any
progress at the peace process on the Palestinian National Authority
fulfilling its obligations – mainly fighting terrorism, and ran with
the campaign slogan "Netanyahu – making a safe peace". However,
although Netanyahu won the election for Prime Minister, Labor won the
Knesset elections , beating the Likud–Gesher –
meaning Netanyahu had to rely on a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox
Shas and UTJ (whose social welfare policies flew in the face
of his capitalistic outlook) in order to govern.
FIRST PREMIERSHIP, 1996–99
Further information: Twenty-seventh government of
Netanyahu met with Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat at the Erez
crossing, 4 September 1996
A spate of suicide bombings reinforced the
Likud position for
Hamas claimed responsibility for most of the bombings. As
Prime Minister, Netanyahu raised many questions about many central
premises of the
Oslo Accords . One of his main points was disagreement
with the Oslo premise that the negotiations should proceed in stages,
meaning that concessions should be made to Palestinians before any
resolution was reached on major issues, such as the status of
Jerusalem , and the amending of the
Palestinian National Charter .
Oslo supporters had claimed that the multi-stage approach would build
goodwill among Palestinians and would propel them to seek
reconciliation when these major issues were raised in later stages.
Netanyahu said that these concessions only gave encouragement to
extremist elements, without receiving any tangible gestures in return.
He called for tangible gestures of Palestinian goodwill in return for
Israeli concessions. Despite his stated differences with the Oslo
Accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued their implementation, but
his Premiership saw a marked slow-down in the peace process.
Prime Minister Netanyahu inspects an
M16 rifle at IDF Training Base 1.
In 1996, Netanyahu and
Jerusalem 's mayor
Ehud Olmert decided to open
an exit in the
Arab Quarter for the
Western Wall Tunnel , which prior
Shimon Peres had instructed to be put on hold for the
sake of peace. This sparked three days of rioting by Palestinians,
resulting in both
Israelis and Palestinians being killed. In January
1997 Netanyahu signed the
Hebron Protocol with the Palestinian
Authority which resulted in the redeployment of Israeli forces in
Hebron and the turnover of civilian authority in much of the area to
Palestinian Authority . Prime Minister Netanyahu, with his
son, at the
Western Wall in 1998.
Eventually, the lack of progress of the peace process led to new
negotiations which produced the
Wye River Memorandum in 1998 which
detailed the steps to be taken by the Israeli government and
Palestinian Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of
1995. It was signed by Netanyahu and PLO chairman
Yasser Arafat , and
on 17 November 1998, Israel's 120 member parliament, the
Wye River Memorandum by a vote of 75–19. As Prime
Minister Netanyahu emphasized a policy of "three no(s)": no withdrawal
from the Golan Heights, no discussion of the case of Jerusalem, no
negotiations under any preconditions. Prime Minister Netanyahu
and his wife visit a
Bedouin tent in
Jordan , 1996
During his term, Netanyahu also began a process of economic
liberalization, taking steps towards a free-market economy. Under his
watch, the government began selling its shares in banks and major
state-run companies. Netanyahu also greatly eased Israel's strict
foreign exchange controls , enabling
Israelis to take an unrestricted
amount of money out of the country, open foreign bank accounts, hold
foreign currency, and invest freely in other countries.
Netanyahu sitting with U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright and
Yasser Arafat at the
Wye River Memorandum , 1998
Throughout his term, Netanyahu was opposed by the political left wing
Israel and lost support from the right because of his concessions
to the Palestinians in
Hebron and elsewhere, and due to his
negotiations with Arafat generally. Netanyahu lost favor with the
Israeli public after a long chain of scandals involving his marriage
and corruption charges. In 1997, police recommended that Netanyahu be
indicted on corruption charges for influence-peddling. He was accused
of appointing an attorney general who would reduce the charges and
prosecutors ruled that there was insufficient evidence to go to trial.
In 1999, Netanyahu faced another scandal when the
recommended that he be tried for corruption for $100,000 in free
services from a government contractor; Israel's attorney general did
not prosecute, citing difficulties with evidence.
After being defeated by
Ehud Barak in the 1999 election for Prime
Minister , Netanyahu temporarily retired from politics. He
subsequently served as a senior consultant with Israeli communications
equipment developer BATM for two years.
POLITICAL DOWNTURN AND RECOVERY, 2000–03
Vladimir Putin at the Jewish Community Centre,
Benjamin Netanyahu at the grave of his brother
Yoni Netanyahu , who was killed leading a counter-terrorist operation
With the fall of the Barak government in late 2000, Netanyahu
expressed his desire to return to politics. By law, Barak's
resignation was supposed to lead to elections for the prime minister
position only. Netanyahu insisted that general elections should be
held, claiming that otherwise it would be impossible to have a stable
government. Netanyahu decided eventually not to run for the prime
minister position, a move which facilitated the surprising rise to
Ariel Sharon , who at the time was considered less popular
than Netanyahu. In 2002, after the
Israeli Labor Party
Israeli Labor Party left the
coalition and vacated the position of foreign minister, Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon appointed Netanyahu as Foreign Minister. Netanyahu
challenged Sharon for the leadership of the
Likud party, but failed to
On 9 September 2002, a scheduled speech by Netanyahu at Concordia
University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada was canceled after hundreds of
pro-Palestinian protesters overwhelmed security and smashed through a
glass window. Netanyahu was not present at the protest, having
remained at Montreal's Ritz-Carlton Hotel throughout the duration. He
later accused the activists of supporting terrorism and "mad
zealotry." Weeks later on 1 October 2002 around 200 protesters met
Netanyahu outside his
Heinz Hall appearance in
Pittsburgh Police , Israeli security and a
allowed his speeches to continue downtown at the hall and the Duquesne
Club as well as suburban
Robert Morris University .
On 12 September 2002, Netanyahu testified (under oath as a private
citizen) before the
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform regarding the nuclear threat posed by
the Iraqi régime: "There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is
seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of
nuclear weapons – no question whatsoever," he said. "And there is no
question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately."
Netanyahu and other high rank officials from different countries had
suspected that Iraq could develop a nuclear capability, as the country
began building a nuclear power plant program in 1959 with the
but Israeli airstrikes had destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981
Operation Opera ).
FINANCE MINISTER, 2003–05
After the 2003 Israeli legislative election , in what many observers
regarded as a surprise move, Sharon offered the Foreign Ministry to
Silvan Shalom and offered Netanyahu the Finance Ministry . Some
pundits speculated that Sharon made the move because he deemed
Netanyahu a political threat given his demonstrated effectiveness as
Foreign Minister, and that by placing him in the Finance Ministry
during a time of economic uncertainty, he could diminish Netanyahu's
popularity. Netanyahu accepted the new appointment. Sharon and
Netanyahu came to an agreement that Netanyahu would have complete
freedom as Finance Minister and have Sharon back all of his reforms,
in exchange for Netanyahu's silence over Sharon's management of
Israel's military and foreign affairs.
As Finance Minister, Netanyahu undertook an economic plan in order to
restore Israel's economy from its low point during the Second Intifada
. Netanyahu claimed that a bloated public sector and excessive
regulations were largely responsible for stifling economic growth. His
plan involved a move toward more liberalized markets , although it was
not without its critics. He instituted a program to end welfare
dependency by requiring people to apply for jobs or training, reduced
the size of the public sector, froze government spending for three
years, and capped the budget deficit at 1%. The taxation system was
streamlined and taxes were cut, with the top individual tax rate
reduced from 64% to 44% and the corporate tax rate from 36% to 18%. A
host of state assets worth billions of dollars were privatized,
including banks, oil refineries, the
El Al national airline, and Zim
Integrated Shipping Services . The retirement ages for both men and
women were raised, and currency exchange laws were further
liberalized. Commercial banks were forced to spin off their long-term
savings. In addition, Netanyahu attacked monopolies and cartels to
increase competition. As the Israeli economy started booming and
unemployment fell significantly, Netanyahu was widely credited by
commentators as having performed an 'economic miracle' by the end of
However, opponents in the Labor party (and even a few within his own
Likud) viewed Netanyahu's policies as "Thatcherite" attacks on the
venerated Israeli social safety net. Ultimately, unemployment
declined while economic growth soared, the debt-to-GDP ration dropped
to one of the lowest in the world, and foreign investment reached
Netanyahu threatened to resign from office in 2004 unless the Gaza
pullout plan was put to a referendum. He later modified the ultimatum
and voted for the program in the Knesset, indicating immediately
thereafter that he would resign unless a referendum was held within 14
days. He submitted his resignation letter on 7 August 2005, shortly
before the Israeli cabinet voted 17 to 5 to approve the initial phase
of withdrawal from Gaza .
LIKUD LEADER AND OPPOSITION LEADER, 2005–09
Following the withdrawal of Sharon from the Likud, Netanyahu was one
of several candidates who vied for the
Likud leadership. His most
recent attempt prior to this was in September 2005 when he had tried
to hold early primaries for the position of the head of the Likud
party, while the party held the office of Prime Minister – thus
Ariel Sharon out of office. The party rejected
this initiative. Netanyahu retook the leadership on 20 December 2005,
with 47% of the primary vote, to 32% for
Silvan Shalom and 15% for
Moshe Feiglin . In the March 2006
Knesset elections ,
Likud took the
third place behind
Kadima and Labor and Netanyahu served as Leader of
the Opposition. On 14 August 2007, Netanyahu was reelected as
chairman of the
Likud and its candidate for the post of Prime Minister
with 73% of the vote, against far-right candidate
Moshe Feiglin and
Danny Danon . He opposed the 2008 Israel–Hamas
ceasefire , like others in the
Knesset opposition. Specifically,
Netanyahu said, "This is not a relaxation, it's an Israeli agreement
to the rearming of
Hamas ... What are we getting for this?"
In the first half of 2008, doctors removed a small colon polyp that
proved to be benign. Netanyahu meeting Secretary Clinton for a
working dinner in Washington DC, 18 May 2009
Tzipi Livni 's election to head
Kadima and Olmert's
resignation from the post of Prime Minister, Netanyahu declined to
join the coalition Livni was trying to form and supported new
elections, which were held in February 2009. Netanyahu was the
Likud's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2009 Israeli legislative
election which took place on 10 February 2009, as Livni, the previous
Designated Acting Prime Minister under the Olmert government, had been
unable to form a viable governing coalition. Opinion polls showed
Likud in the lead, but with as many as a third of Israeli voters
In the election itself,
Likud won the second highest number of seats,
Livni's party having outnumbered the
Likud by one seat. A possible
explanation for Likud's relatively poor showing is that some Likud
supporters defected to
Avigdor Lieberman 's
Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Netanyahu, however, claimed victory on the basis that right-wing
parties won the majority of the vote, and on 20 February 2009,
Netanyahu was designated by Israeli President
Shimon Peres to succeed
Ehud Olmert as prime minister, and began his negotiations to form a
Despite right wing parties winning a majority of 65 seats in the
Knesset , Netanyahu preferred a broader centrist coalition and turned
Kadima rivals, chaired by Tzipi Livni, to join his government.
This time it was Livni's turn to decline to join, with a difference of
opinion on how to pursue the peace process being the stumbling block.
Netanyahu did manage to entice a smaller rival, the Labour party,
chaired by Ehud Barak, to join his government, giving him a certain
amount of centrist tone. Netanyahu presented his cabinet for a Knesset
"Vote of Confidence" on 31 March 2009. The 32nd Government was
approved that day by a majority of 69 lawmakers to 45 (with five
abstaining) and the members were sworn in.
SECOND PREMIERSHIP, 2009–13
Further information: Thirty-second government of
Minister Netanyahu speaks with female combat soldiers from the Israel
Defense Forces on the border with the Egyptian Sinai. Netanyahu
Barack Obama in the
Oval Office , 18 May 2009
Netanyahu in a meeting with President
Dmitry Medvedev in Russia, 24
In 2009, US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton voiced support for the
establishment of a
Palestinian state —a solution not endorsed by
prime minister -designate Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom she had
earlier pledged the United States' cooperation. Upon the arrival of
President Obama administration's special envoy, George Mitchell ,
Netanyahu said that any furtherance of negotiations with the
Palestinians would be conditioned on the Palestinians recognizing
Israel as a Jewish state.
During President Obama\'s Cairo speech on 4 June 2009 in which Obama
Muslim world , Obama stated, among other things, that
United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli
settlements." Following Obama's Cairo speech Netanyahu immediately
called a special government meeting. On 14 June, ten days after
Obama's Cairo speech, Netanyahu gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University
in which he endorsed a "Demilitarized Palestinian State", though said
Jerusalem must remain the unified capital of Israel. Netanyahu
stated that he would accept a
Palestinian state if
Jerusalem were to
remain the united capital of
Israel , the Palestinians would have no
army, and the Palestinians would give up their demand for a right of
return . He also argued the right for a "natural growth" in the
existing Jewish settlements in the
West Bank while their permanent
status is up to further negotiation. Senior Palestinian official,
Sereb Ereket, said that the speech had "closed the door to permanent
status negotiations" due to Netanyahu's declarations on Jerusalem,
refugees and settlements.
Three months after starting his term, Netanyahu remarked that his
cabinet already had achieved several notable successes, such as the
establishment of a working national unity government , and a broad
consensus for a "two-state solution ". A July 2009 survey by
Ha\'aretz found that most
Israelis support the Netanyahu government,
giving him a personal approval rating of about 49 percent. Netanyahu
has lifted checkpoints in the
West Bank in order to allow freedom of
movement and a flow of imports; a step that resulted in an economic
boost in the West Bank. In 2009, Netanyahu welcomed the Arab Peace
initiative (also known as the "Saudi Peace Initiative") and lauded a
Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to
normalize relations with Israel.
In August 2009, Abbas declared that he would be willing to meet with
Prime Minister Netanyahu at the
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly , where Netanyahu
had accepted president Obama's invitation for a "triple summit,"
although he said it would not necessarily lead to negotiations.
Netanyahu was reported to be in a pivotal moment over these
understandings, that were reported to include a compromise over
permission on continuing the already approved construction in the West
Bank in exchange for freezing all settlements thereafter, as well as
continuing building in East
Jerusalem , and at the same time stopping
the demolition of houses of Arab inhabitants there. On 4 September
2009, it was reported that Netanyahu was to agree to settlers'
political demands to approve more settlement constructions before a
temporary settlement freeze agreement took place. White House
Robert Gibbs expressed "regret" over the move; however, one
U.S. official said the move will not "derail train".
On 7 September 2009, Netanyahu left his office without reporting
where he was headed. The prime minister's military secretary, Maj.
Gen. Meir Kalifi, later reported Netanyahu had visited a security
facility in Israel. Several different news agencies reported several
different stories about where he was. On 9 September 2009, Yedioth
Ahronoth reported that the Israeli leader had made a secret flight to
Moscow to try to persuade Russian officials not to sell S-300
anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. Headlines branded Netanyahu
a "liar" and dubbed the affair a "fiasco." It was later reported
that the PM's military secretary will be dismissed due to the affair.
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times reported that the trip was made to share the names of
Russian scientists that
Israel believes are abetting the alleged
Iranian nuclear weapons program. Netanyahu with
Yohanan Danino ,
appointed Israel's Chief of Police in 2011
On 24 September 2009, in an address to the
United Nations General
Assembly in New York, Netanyahu said Iran poses a threat to the peace
of the world and that it is incumbent on the world body to prevent the
Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. Waving the
blueprints for Auschwitz and invoking the memory of his own family
members murdered by the Nazis, Netanyahu delivered a passionate and
public riposte to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's questioning
of the Holocaust, asking: "Have you no shame?"
In response to pressure from the Obama administration urging the
sides to resume peace talks, on 25 November 2009 Netanyahu announced a
partial 10-month settlement construction freeze plan. The announced
partial freeze had no significant effect on actual settlement
construction, according to an analysis by the major Israeli daily
Haaretz . U.S. special envoy George Mitchell said, "while the United
States shares Arab concerns about the limitations of Israel's gesture,
it is more than any Israeli government has ever done". In his
announcement Netanyahu called the move "a painful step that will
encourage the peace process" and urged the Palestinians to respond.
The Palestinians rejected the call, stating the gesture was
"insignificant" in that thousands of recently approved settlement
buildings in the
West Bank would continue to be built and there would
be no freeze of settlement activity in East Jerusalem.
In March 2010, Israel's government approved construction of an
additional 1,600 apartments in a large Jewish housing development in
Ramat Shlomo despite the position of
the current U.S. Government that acts such as this thwart the peace
Israel and the Palestinians. The Israeli government's
announcement occurred during a visit by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden
and the U.S. government subsequently issued a strongly worded
condemnation of the plan. Netanyahu subsequently issued a statement
that all previous Israeli governments had continuously permitted
construction in the neighborhood, and that certain neighborhoods such
Ramat Shlomo and
Gilo have always been included as part of Israel
in any final agreement plan that has been proposed by either side to
date. Netanyahu regretted the timing of the announcement but asserted
that "our policy on
Jerusalem is the same policy followed by all
Israeli governments for the 42 years, and it has not changed."
Hillary Clinton ,
George J. Mitchell and
Mahmoud Abbas at
the start of the direct talks , 2 September 2010
In September 2010, Netanyahu agreed to enter direct talks , mediated
by the Obama administration , with the Palestinians for the first time
in a long while. The ultimate aim of these direct talks is to forge
the framework of an official "final status settlement" to the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict by forming a two-state solution for the
Jewish people and the
Palestinian people . On 27 September, the
10-month settlement freeze ended, and the Israeli government approved
new construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On
retiring from office in July 2011, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates had said that Netanyahu was ungrateful to the United
States and endangering Israel. Responding, the
Likud party defended
Netanyahu by saying that most
Israelis supported the Prime Minister
and that he had broad support in the United States.
Netanyahu unsuccessfully called for the early release of Jonathan
Pollard , an American serving a life sentence for passing secret U.S.
Israel in 1987. He has raised the issue at the Wye River
Summit in 1998, where he claimed that U.S. President
Bill Clinton had
privately agreed to release Pollard. In 2002, Netanyahu visited
Pollard at his
North Carolina prison. The Israeli Prime Minister
maintained contact with Pollard's wife, and was active in pressing the
Obama administration to release Pollard.
In 2011, social justice protests broke out across Israel. Hundreds of
thousands of people protested Israel's high cost of living throughout
the country. In response, Netanyahu appointed the Trajtenberg
Committee , headed by professor
Manuel Trajtenberg , to examine the
problems and propose solutions. The committee submitted
recommendations to lower the high cost of living in September 2011.
Although Netanyahu promised to push the proposed reforms through the
cabinet in one piece, differences inside his coalition resulted in the
reforms being gradually adopted.
Netanyahu's cabinet also approved a plan to build a fiber-optic cable
network across the country to bring cheap, high-speed fiber-optic
Internet access to every home.
In 2012, Netanyahu initially planned to call early elections, but
subsequently oversaw the creation of a controversial government of
national unity to see
Israel through until the national elections of
2013. In May 2012, Netanyahu officially recognized for the first time
the right for Palestinians to have their own state in an official
document, a letter to Mahmoud Abbas, though as before he declared it
would have to be demilitarized. On 25 October 2012, Netanyahu and
Avigdor Lieberman announced that their respective
Yisrael Beiteinu , had merged and would
run together on a single ballot in Israel's 22 January 2013 general
THIRD PREMIERSHIP, 2013–15
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Secretary of State
John Kerry and Netanyahu, Jerusalem, 23 July 2014
The 2013 election returned Netanyahu's
Likud Beiteinu coalition with
11 fewer seats than the combined
Yisrael Beiteinu parties
had going into the vote. Nevertheless, as leader of what remained the
largest faction in the Knesset, Israeli president
Shimon Peres charged
Netanyahu with the task of forming the Thirty-third government of
Israel . The new coalition included the
Yesh Atid , The Jewish Home
Hatnuah parties and excludes the ultra-Orthodox parties at the
Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home.
During Netanyahu's third term, he continued his policy of economic
liberalization. In December 2013, the
Knesset approved the Business
Concentration Law, which intended to open Israel's highly concentrated
economy to competition to lower consumer prices, reduce income
inequality, and increase economic growth. Netanyahu had formed the
Concentration Committee in 2010, and the bill, which was pushed
forward by his government, implemented its recommendations. The new
law banned multi-tiered corporate holding structures, in which a CEO's
family members or other affiliated individuals held public companies
which in turn owned other public companies, and who were thus able to
engage in price gouging . Under the law, corporations were banned from
owning more than two tiers of publicly listed companies and from
holding both financial and non-financial enterprises. All
conglomerates were given four to six years to sell excess holdings.
Netanyahu also began a campaign of port privatization to break what he
viewed as the monopoly held by workers of the
Israel Port Authority ,
so as to lower consumer prices and increase exports. In July 2013, he
issued tenders for the construction of private ports in
Ashdod . Netanyahu has also pledged to curb excess bureaucracy and
regulations to ease the burden on industry. Netanyahu meets with
Mauricio Macri , 2016.
In April 2014, and again in June, Netanyahu spoke of his deep
Hamas and the
Palestinian Authority agreed and then
formed a unity government, and was severely critical of both the
United States and European governments' decision to work with the
Palestinian coalition government. He blamed
Hamas for the kidnapping
and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, and launched a
massive search and arrest operation on the West Bank, targeting
Hamas in particular, and over the following weeks hit 60
targets in Gaza. Missile and rocket exchanges between Gaza militants
and the IDF escalated after the bodies of the teenagers, who had been
killed almost immediately as the government had good reasons to
suspect, were discovered on 30 June 2014. After several Hamas
operatives were killed, either in an explosion or from an Israeli
Hamas officially declared it would launch rockets from Gaza
into Israel, and
Operation Protective Edge in the
Gaza Strip, formally ending the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.
The prime minister did a round of television shows in the United
States and described
Hamas as "genocidal terrorists" in an interview
on CNN. When asked if Gazan casualties from the operation might spark
"a third intifada", Netanyahu replied that
Hamas was working towards
that goal. In October 2014, Netanyahu's government approved a
privatization plan to reduce corruption and politicization in
government companies, and strengthen Israel's capital market. Under
the plan, minority stakes of up to 49% in state-owned companies,
including arms manufacturers, energy, postal, water, and railway
companies, as well as the ports of
Haifa and Ashdod. That same month,
Netanyahu called restrictions on settlements "against the American
values," a remark that earned him a sharp rebuke from the White House
Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who noted that American values had
Israel receiving not only consistent funding but
protective technology such as Iron Dome. Not long thereafter, Jeffrey
Goldberg of The Atlantic reported that the relationship between
Netanyahu and the White House had reached a new low, with the U.S.
administration angry over Israel's settlement policies, and Netanyahu
expressing contempt for the American administration's grasp of the
Middle East. Netanyahu explained that he does not accept restrictions
on where Jews could live, and said that Jerusalem's Arabs and Jews
should be able to buy homes wherever they want. He said he was
"baffled" by the American condemnation. "It's against the American
values. And it doesn't bode well for peace. The idea that we'd have
this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it's
anti-peace." Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir
Putin in Moscow to discuss
Syria and Iran, 21 September 2015
On 2 December 2014, Netanyahu fired two of his ministers, Finance
Yair Lapid , who heads the centrist
Yesh Atid party and
Tzipi Livni , who heads
Hatnua . The changes led to
the dissolution of the government, with new elections expected on 17
In January 2015, Netanyahu was invited to address the US Congress.
This speech marked Netanyahu's third speech to a joint session of
Congress. The day before announcing he would address Congress, Time
reported that he tried to derail a meeting between U.S. lawmakers and
the head of Mossad,
Tamir Pardo , who intended warning them against
imposing further sanctions against Iran, a move that might derail
nuclear talks. Leading up to the speech, on 3 March 2015, Israeli
consuls general in the
United States "expect fierce negative reaction
from U.S. Jewish communities and Israel's allies." Objections included
the arrangement of the speech without the support and engagement of
the Obama administration and the timing of the speech before Israel's
17 March 2015 election. Seven American Jewish lawmakers met with Ron
Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. and recommended that Netanyahu
instead meet with lawmakers privately to discuss Iran. In making the
speech, Netanyahu claimed to speak for all Jews worldwide, a claim
disputed by others in the Jewish community. Rebecca Vilkomerson,
executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, stated that "American
Jews are largely appalled by the notion that Netanyahu, or any other
Israeli politician – one that we did not elect and do not choose to
be represented by – claims to speak for us."
As election day approached in what was perceived to be a close race
in the 2015 Israeli elections, Netanyahu answered 'indeed' when asked
Palestinian state would not be established in his term. He
said that support of a
Palestinian state is tantamount to yielding
territory for radical Islamic terrorists to attack Israel. However,
Netanyahu reiterated "I don't want a one-state solution. I want a
peaceful, sustainable two-state solution. I have not changed my
FOURTH PREMIERSHIP, 2015–PRESENT
Further information: Thirty-fourth government of
Netanyahu and US Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson . Netanyahu,
Joseph Dunford and
Red Army 's Jewish veterans, Victory Day in
Jerusalem, 9 May 2017 Netanyahu meets with President Donald
Trump in Jerusalem, May 2017
In the 2015 election , Netanyahu returned with his party Likud
leading the elections with 30 mandates, making it the single highest
number of seats for the Knesset. President Rivlin granted Netanyahu an
extension until 6 May 2015 to build a coalition when one had not been
finalized in the first four weeks of negotiations. He formed a
coalition government within two hours of the midnight 6 May deadline.
Likud party formed the coalition with Jewish Home , United Torah
Kulanu , and
On 28 May 2015, Netanyahu announced that he would be running for an
unprecedented fifth term as Prime Minister in the next general
election and that he supports Likud's current process of picking MK
In August 2015, Netanyahu's government approved a two-year budget
that would see agricultural reforms and lowering of import duties to
reduce food prices, deregulation of the approval process in
construction to lower housing costs and speed up infrastructure
building, and reforms in the financial sector to boost competition and
lower fees for financial services. In the end, the government was
forced to compromise by removing some key agricultural reforms.
In October 2015, Netanyahu drew widespread criticism for claiming
that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,
Haj Amin al-Husseini , gave Adolf
Hitler the idea for the Holocaust in the preceding months to the
Second World War
Second World War , convincing the Nazi leader to exterminate Jews
rather than just expel them from Europe. This idea is dismissed by
mainstream historians, who note that al-Husseini's meeting with
Hitler took place approximately five months after the mass murder of
Jews began. German Chancellor
Angela Merkel said she did not accept
Netanyahu's claims, and reiterated an acceptance of her country's
crimes during the Nazi era. Netanyahu later explained that his "aim
was not to absolve Hitler from the responsibility he bears, but to
show that the father of the Palestinian nation at the time, without a
state and before the 'occupation,' without the territories and with
the settlements, even then aspired with systemic incitement for the
destruction of the Jews." Some of the strongest criticism came from
Yehuda Bauer said Netanyahu's claim was "completely
Moshe Zimmermann stated that "any attempt to deflect
the burden from Hitler to others is a form of
Holocaust denial ."
In March 2016 Netanyahu's coalition faced a potential crisis as
ultra-Orthodox members threatened to withdraw over the government's
proposed steps to create non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall
. They have stated they will leave the coalition if the government
offers any further official state recognition of Conservative and
Reform Judaism .
On 23 December 2016, the
United States , under the Obama
Administration , abstained from
United Nations Security Council
Resolution 2334 , effectively allowing it to pass. On 28 December,
U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry strongly criticized
Israel and its
settlement policies in a speech. Netanyahu strongly criticized both
the UN Resolution and Kerry's speech in response. On 6 January 2017,
the Israeli government withdrew its annual dues from the organization,
which totaled $6 million in
United States dollars .
On 22 February 2017, Netanyahu became the first serving Prime
Israel to visit
Australia . He was accompanied by his
wife, Sara. The three day official visit included a delegation of
business representatives, and Netanyahu and Prime Minister of
Malcolm Turnbull were scheduled to sign several bilateral
agreements. Netanyahu recalled that it was the Australian Light Horse
regiments that liberated
World War 1 , and this began
what has been a relationship of 100 years between the countries.
Since January 2017, Netanyahu is being investigated and questioned by
the Israeli police in two cases not made public before, "Case 1000 "
and "Case 2000 ", due to the link between them. In the first case,
"1000", the prime minister is suspected in allegedly obtaining
inappropriately large-scale benefits from businessmen, among them
Arnon Milchan and
James Packer . The second case
involves alleged attempts to strike a deal with publisher of the
Yediot Ahronot newspaper group, Arnon Mozes, to promote legislation to
weaken Yediot's main competitor,
Israel Hayom , in exchange for more
favorable coverage of him by Yediot.
On August 3, 2017, the police confirmed for the first time Netanyahu
is suspected of crimes involving fraud, breach of trust and bribes in
the cases "1000" and "2000." On August 4, it was reported that the
prime minister's former chief of staff,
Ari Harow , has signed a deal
with prosecutors to become state's witness and testify against
Netanyahu in these cases.
You want to have a meritocracy . You want to have initiative, risk,
talent, the ability to create new products, new services to be
rewarded ... It's always been about competition. That's what human
progress is about. You want to siphon it into productive ways.
Benjamin Netanyahu, The Marker, 2014
Netanyahu has been described as 'the advocate of the free-market'.
As Prime Minister in his first term, he significantly reformed the
banking sector, removing barriers to investment abroad, mandatory
purchases of government securities and direct credit. As Minister of
Finance (2003–2005), Netanyahu introduced a major overhaul of the
Israeli economy. He introduced a welfare to work program, he led a
program of privatization, reduced the size of the public sector,
reformed and streamlined the taxation system and passed laws against
monopolies and cartels with the aim of increasing competition.
Netanyahu extended capital gains taxes from companies to individuals,
which allowed him to enlarge the tax base while reducing taxes on
incomes. As the Israeli economy started booming and unemployment fell
significantly, Netanyahu was widely credited by commentators as having
performed an 'economic miracle' by the end of his tenure. Direct
investment in the Israeli economy had increased by an annualized 380%.
On the other hand, his critics have labelled his economic views as
Margaret Thatcher -inspired "popular capitalism".
Netanyahu defines capitalism as "the ability to have individual
initiative and competition to produce goods and services with profit,
but not to shut out somebody else from trying to do the same." He
says that his views developed while he was working as an economic
Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group : "It was the first time that the
Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group looked at governments and worked for
governments. They wanted to do a strategic plan for the government of
Sweden. I was on that case and looked at other governments. So I went
around to other governments in Europe in 1976 and I was looking at
Britain. I was looking at France. I was looking at other countries,
and I could see that they were stymied by concentrations of power that
prevented competition. And I thought, hmm, as bad as they are, ours
was worse because we had very little room for private sector
competition to the extent that we had government-controlled or
union-controlled companies, and so you really didn't get the
competition or the growth... And I said, well, if I ever have a
chance, I'll change that."
VIEWS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
he essence of democratic societies, and that which distinguishes
them from dictatorships, is the commitment to resolve conflict in a
nonviolent fashion by settling issues through argument and debate ...
The salient point that has to be underlined again and again is that
nothing justifies terrorism, that it is evil per se – that the
various real or imagined reasons proffered by the terrorists to
justify their actions are meaningless Benjamin Netanyahu, 1995
Netanyahu has said his own "hard line against all terrorists" came as
a result of his brother's death.
Yoni Netanyahu had been killed while
leading the hostage-rescue mission at
Operation Entebbe .
In addition to having taken part in counter-terrorist operations
during his service in the military, Netanyahu has published three
books on the subject of fighting terrorism. He identifies terrorism as
a form of totalitarianism , writing: "The more far removed the target
of the attack from any connection to the grievance enunciated by the
terrorists, the greater the terror ... Yet for terrorism to have any
impact, it is precisely the lack of connection, the lack of any
possible involvement or "complicity" of the chosen victims in the
cause the terrorists seek to attack, that produces the desired fear.
For terrorism's underlying message is that every member of society is
"guilty", that anyone can be a victim, and that therefore no one is
safe ... In fact, the methods reveal the totalitarian strain that runs
through all terrorist groups ... It is not only that the ends of the
terrorists do not succeed in justifying the means they choose; their
choice of means indicate what their true ends are. Far from being
fighters for freedom, terrorists are the forerunners of tyranny.
Terrorists use the techniques of violent coercion in order to achieve
a regime of violent coercion."
Netanyahu cautions that "he trouble with active anti-terror
activities ... is that they do constitute a substantial intrusion on
the lives of those being monitored." He believes there is a balance
between civil liberties and security, which should depend on the level
of sustained terrorist attacks in a country. During periods of
sustained attack, there should be shift towards security, due to "the
monstrous violation of personal rights which is the lot of the victims
of terror and their families". But this should be regularly reviewed,
with an emphasis on guarding civil liberties and individual privacy
wherever and whenever security considerations allow: "The concern of
civil libertarians over possible infringements of the rights of
innocent citizens is well placed, and all additional powers granted
the security services should require annual renewal by the
legislature, this in addition to judicial oversight of actions as they
are taken in the field."
He advises tighter immigration laws as an essential tool to
preemptively combat terrorism: "This era of immigration free-for-all
should be brought to an end. An important aspect of taking control of
the immigration situation is stricter background checks of potential
immigrants, coupled with the real possibility of deportation."
He also cautions that it is essential that governments do not
conflate terrorists with those legitimate political groups that may or
may not hold extremist views, but which advance their positions by
means of debate and argument: "Democracies have their share of
anti-immigrant or anti-establishment parties, as well as advocates of
extreme nationalism or internationalism ... hey are often genuinely
convinced participants in democracy, accepting its basic ground rules
and defending its central tenets. These can and must be distinguished
from the tiny splinters at the absolute fringes of democratic society,
which may endorse many similar ideas, but use them as a pretext to
step outside the rubric of the democratic system".
Ronald Reagan was an admirer of Netanyahu's work on
counter-terrorism, and Reagan recommended Netanyahu's book Terrorism:
How the West Can Win to all senior figures in his administration.
Netanyahu supports equal rights before the law for LGBT citizens,
stating: "The struggle for every person to be recognized as equal
before the law is a long struggle, and there is still a long way to
go.... I am proud that
Israel is among the most open countries in the
world in relation to the LGBT community discourse." During an event
held for the annual community rights day at the Knesset, Netanyahu
proclaimed: ”I asked to come here in the middle of my busy schedule
to say one thing to the male and female members of the LGBT community:
We must be guided by the conviction that every person is created in
the image of God."
ETHIOPIAN JEWISH INTEGRATION
Netanyahu at a memorial service of Ethiopian Israeli immigrants,
in honor of their friends who died on their way to Israel.
In 2015, after Ethiopian Jewish protests against police brutality,
Netanyahu said: "We will bring a comprehensive plan to the government
to assist you in every way. There is no room for racism and
discrimination in our society, none ... We will turn racism into
something contemptible and despicable."
AFRICAN HEBREW ISRAELITES OF JERUSALEM
Netanyahu supports the integration of the African Hebrew Israelites
Jerusalem into Israeli society, and takes part in celebrations in
honor of this community's 'exodus' from America to Israel, which
occurred in 1967. In 2012, Netanyahu expressed appreciation towards
"the cooperative society that is working towards the inclusion of the
Hebrew Israelite community in Israeli society at large," and declared
that the experience of the community in the land of
Israel is "an
integral part of the Israeli experience."
Netanyahu opposed the
Oslo accords from their inception. In 1993, he
dedicated a chapter, entitled "Trojan Horse", of his book A Place
Among the Nations to argue against the Oslo Peace Process. He asserted
that Amin al-Husseini had been one of the masterminds of the
Holocaust, and that
Yasser Arafat was heir to the former's 'alleged
exterminationist Nazism.' During his term as prime minister in the
late 1990s, Netanyahu consistently reneged on commitments made by
previous Israeli governments as part of the Oslo peace process,
leading American peace envoy
Dennis Ross to note that "neither
President Clinton nor Secretary Albright believed that Bibi had any
real interest in pursuing peace." In a 2001 video, Netanyahu,
reportedly unaware he was being recorded, said: "They asked me before
the election if I'd honor ," "I said I would, but ... I'm going to
interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end
to this galloping forward to the '67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody
said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are
security zones; as far as I'm concerned, the entire
Jordan Valley is a
defined military zone. Go argue."
PRIOR TO SECOND TERM AS PRIME MINISTER
One of Netanyahu's campaign posters during the 2009 Israeli
legislative elections which stated that he would be the strongest
choice for Israel\'s economy and security
Netanyahu had previously called U.S.-backed peace talks a waste of
time, while at the same time refusing to commit to the same two-state
solution as had other Israeli leaders, until a speech in June 2009.
He repeatedly made public statements which advocated an "economic
peace" approach, meaning an approach based on economic cooperation and
joint effort rather than continuous contention over political and
diplomatic issues. This is in line with many significant ideas from
Peace Valley plan . He raised these ideas during discussions with
former U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice . Netanyahu continued
to advocate these ideas as the Israeli elections approached.
Netanyahu has said:
Right now, the peace talks are based on only one thing, only on peace
talks. It makes no sense at this point to talk about the most
contractible issue. It's
Jerusalem or bust, or right of return or
bust. That has led to failure and is likely to lead to failure again
... We must weave an economic peace alongside a political process.
That means that we have to strengthen the moderate parts of the
Palestinian economy by handing rapid growth in those areas, rapid
economic growth that gives a stake for peace for the ordinary
In January 2009, prior to the February 2009 Israeli elections
Netanyahu informed Middle East envoy
Tony Blair that he would continue
the policy of the Israeli governments of
Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert
by expanding settlements in the
West Bank , in contravention of the
Road Map, but not building new ones.
On 14 June 2009, Netanyahu delivered a seminal address at Bar-Ilan
University (also known as the "Bar-Ilan speech"), at Begin-Sadat
Center for Strategic Studies , that was broadcast live in
across parts of the
Arab world , on the topic of the
Israeli–Palestinian peace process . He endorsed for the first time
the notion of a
Palestinian state alongside Israel. Netanyahu's
speech could be viewed in part as a response to Obama's 4 June speech
at Cairo .
Yedioth Ahronoth claimed that Obama's words had "resonated
through Jerusalem's corridors".
As part of his proposal, Netanyahu demanded the full demilitarization
of the proposed state, with no army, rockets, missiles, or control of
its airspace, and said that
Jerusalem would be undivided Israeli
territory . He stated that the Palestinians should recognize
the Jewish national state with an undivided Jerusalem. He rejected a
right of return for Palestinian refugees, saying, "any demand for
resettling Palestinian refugees within
Israel undermines Israel's
continued existence as the state of the Jewish people." He also stated
that a complete stop to settlement building in the
West Bank , as
required by the 2003 Road Map peace proposal, was not possible and the
expansions will be limited based on the "natural growth" of the
population, including immigration, with no new territories taken in.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu affirmed that he accepted the Road Map
proposal. He did not discuss whether or not the settlements should be
Israel after peace negotiations, simply stating that the
"question will be discussed".
In a response to U.S. President
Barack Obama 's statements in his
Cairo speech, Netanyahu remarked, "there are those who say that if the
Holocaust had not occurred, the State of
Israel would never have been
established. But I say that if the State of
Israel would have been
established earlier, the Holocaust would not have occurred." He also
said, "this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our
identity was forged." He stated that he would be willing to meet with
any "Arab leader" for negotiations without preconditions, specifically
Syria , Saudi Arabia, and
Lebanon . In general, the
address represented a new position for Netanyahu's government on the
Some right-wing members of Netanyahu's governing coalition criticized
his remarks for the creation of a Palestinian State; believing that
all of the land should become under Israeli sovereignty.
Danny Danon said that Netanyahu went "against the
Uri Orbach of
Habayit Hayehudi said that it had "dangerous
implications". Opposition party
Tzipi Livni remarked
after the address that she thinks Netanyahu does not really believe in
the two-state solution at all; she thought that he only said what he
did as a feigned response to international pressure. Peace Now
criticized the speech, highlighting that, in the group's opinion, it
did not address the Palestinians as equal partners in the peace
process. The Secretary General of
Peace Now , Yariv Oppenheimer, said,
"It's a rerun of Netanyahu from his first term".
On 9 August 2009, speaking at the opening of government meeting
Netanyahu repeated his claims from the Palestinians: "We want an
agreement with two factors, the first of which is the recognition of
Israel as the national state of the
Jewish people and (the second of
which is) a security settlement".
Netanyahu's "Bar-Ilan speech" provoked mixed reaction from the
international community. The
Palestinian National Authority rejected
the conditions on a Palestinian State given by Netanyahu. Senior
Saeb Erekat said, "Netanyahu's speech closed the door to
permanent status negotiations".
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it
reflected a "racist and extremist ideology" and called on Arab
nations to "form stronger opposition". Palestinian Islamic Jihad
labeled it "misleading" and, like
Hamas , demanded stronger opposition
Israel from Arab nations. According to The
Jerusalem Post , some
leaders advocated a third intifada in response to the speech. The
Arab League dismissed the address, declaring in a statement that
"Arabs would not make concessions regarding issues of
refugees" and that "we know his history and style of evasion", adding
Arab League would not recognize
Israel as a Jewish state.
Referring to Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognize
the state of the Jewish people, Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak
remarked, "You won't find anyone to answer that call in Egypt, or in
any other place." Issuing a less blunt response, the Egyptian Foreign
Ministry said that the speech was "not complete" and that it hoped for
another, "different Israeli proposal which is built on the commitment
to the two-state solution". Syrian state media condemned the speech
and wrote that "Netanyahu has confirmed that he rejects the Arab peace
initiative for peace along with all the initiatives and resolutions of
the Security Council to relative peace." Lebanese President Michel
Suleiman called for unity among Arab leaders, saying that "Arab
leaders should be more united and preserve the spirit of resistance to
face the Israeli stands regarding the peace process and the
Palestinian refugee issue." He called on the international community
to exert more pressure on the Israeli government to accept the Arab
Peace Initiative, as he said "
Israel still has a will of military
confrontation which can be proved in its offensives on
Lebanon and the
Gaza Strip." Jordanian Minister of State for Media affairs and
Communications, and Government spokesperson Nabil Sharif issued a
statement saying "The ideas presented by Netanyahu do not live up to
what was agreed on by the international community as a starting point
for achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region."
Former Iranian president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to the speech
as "bad news".
Czech Republic , which held the presidency of the European Union,
praised Netanyahu's address. "In my view, this is a step in the right
direction. The acceptance of a
Palestinian state was present there,"
said Czech Foreign Minister
Jan Kohout , whose country held the EU's
six-month presidency at the time of the speech. President Barack
Obama 's press secretary ,
Robert Gibbs , said that the speech was an
"important step forward". President Obama stated that "this solution
can and must ensure both Israel's security and the Palestinians'
legitimate aspirations for a viable state". Swedish Foreign Minister
Carl Bildt stated that "the fact that he uttered the word state is a
small step forward". He added that "whether what he mentioned can be
defined as a state is a subject of some debate". France praised the
speech but called on
Israel to cease building settlements in the West
Bank. French Foreign Minister
Bernard Kouchner stated that "I can only
welcome the prospect of a
Palestinian state outlined by the Israeli
Prime Minister." The Foreign Ministry of Russia called the speech "a
sign of readiness for dialogue" but said that "it does not open up the
road to resolving the Israeli–Palestinian problem. The conditions on
the Palestinians would be unacceptable."
STALLED PEACE TALKS
In 2013, Netanyahu denied reports that his government would agree to
peace talks on the basis of the green line. In 2014 he agreed to the
American framework based on the green line and said that Jewish
settlers must be allowed the option of staying in their settlements
under Palestinian rule.
In 2014, Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erekat criticized Netanyahu,
calling him "ideologically corrupt" and a war criminal.
On 9 August 2009, speaking at the opening of his weekly cabinet
meeting, Netanyahu promised not to repeat the "mistake" of the Gaza
unilateral pullout , saying, "We will not repeat this mistake. We will
not create new evacuees", and adding that "the unilateral evacuation
brought neither peace nor security. On the contrary", and that "We
want an agreement with two factors, the first of which is the
Israel as the national state of the
Jewish people and
a security settlement. In the case of Gaza, both of these factors were
lacking". He also said, "Should we achieve a turn toward peace with
the more moderate partners, we will insist on the recognition of the
Israel and the demilitarization of the future Palestinian
state". In October 2014, Netanyahu said "We don't just hand over
territory, close our eyes and hope for the best. We did that in
Lebanon and we got thousands of rockets. We did that in Gaza, we got
Hamas and 15,000 rockets. So we're not gonna just replicate that. We
want to see genuine recognition of the Jewish state and rock solid
security arrangements on the ground. That's the position I've held,
and it's only become firmer."
See also: Iran–
Israel relations and List of United Nations
resolutions concerning Iran
In an 8 March 2007 interview with
CNN , opposition leader Netanyahu
asserted that there is only one difference between Nazi Germany and
the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely that the first entered a
worldwide conflict and then sought atomic weapons, while the latter is
first seeking atomic weapons and, once it has them, will then start a
world war. Netanyahu repeated these remarks at a news conference in
April 2008. This was similar to earlier remarks that "... it's 1938,
and Iran is Germany, and Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic
On 20 February 2009, after being asked to be the prime minister of
Israel, Netanyahu described Iran as the greatest threat that Israel
has ever faced: "Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and
constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of
independence." Speaking before the
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly in New York on
24 September 2009, Netanyahu expressed a different opinion than
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the forum, saying
those who believe Tehran is a threat only to
Israel are wrong. "The
Iranian regime", he said, "is motivated by fanaticism ... They want to
see us go back to medieval times. The struggle against Iran pits
civilization against barbarism. This Iranian regime is fueled by
extreme fundamentalism." "By focusing solely on Iran," columnist
Yossi Melman speculated that Netanyahu's foreign policy, "... took the
Palestinian issue off the world agenda." After four days of shelling
from the Iranian-funded
Palestinian Islamic Jihad , Melman asked, "Is
it worth initiating a crisis with Iran? Will the Israeli public be
able to cope with Iran's response?" According to
Uzi Eilam , a
retired brigadier general and the ex-director of Israel's Atomic
Benjamin Netanyahu is using the threat of atomic
Iran as a means of reaching his own goals. Directly blaming Netanyahu,
he said: "Netanyahu is using the Iranian threat to achieve a variety
of political objectives." He also said: "These declarations are
unnecessarily scaring Israel's citizens, given
Israel is not party to
the negotiations to determine whether Iran will or will not dismantle
its nuclear program." Standing with Israeli Minister of Defense
Ehud Barak , Netanyahu holds an Iranian instruction manual for the
anti-ship missile captured in
Victoria Affair , March 2011
By 2012, Netanyahu is reported to have formed a close, confidential
relationship with Defense Minister
Ehud Barak as the two men consider
possible Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear facilities,
following Israel's established
Begin Doctrine . The pair were accused
of acting on "messianic" impulses by Yuval Diskin, former head of the
Shin Bet , who added that their warmongering rhetoric appealed to "the
idiots within the Israeli public". Diskin's remarks were supported by
former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who himself had previously said that
an attack on Iran was "the stupidest thing I have ever heard". A few
weeks later, the
RAND Corporation (a leading American think-tank that
advises the Pentagon ) also openly disagreed with Netanyahu's
belligerent stance: "In doing so, and without naming names, RAND sided
with former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former head of the Shin Bet
Early in 2012, he used the opening ceremony for Israel's Holocaust
Remembrance Day to warn against the dangers of an Iranian nuclear
bomb, saying he was following the example of Jewish leaders during
World War II who struggled to raise the alarm about the Nazis'
genocidal intentions. Israeli academic
Avner Cohen accused Netanyahu
of showing "contempt" for the Holocaust by putting it to "political
use", and former Israeli foreign minister
Shlomo Ben-Ami similarly
condemned Netanyahu's "vulgar manipulation of the memory of the
Holocaust". Immediately after the
2012 Burgas bus bombing , Netanyahu
confirmed that the attack had been undertaken in coordination with
Netanyahu stated during a 29 July meeting that, in his opinion, "all
the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian
programme by one iota." And in August he stated that the United
States only might respond to a massive attack against Israel. On 28
September 2012, Netanyahu gave a speech to the
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly in
which he set forward a "red line" of 90% uranium enrichment, stating
that if Iran were to reach this level, it would become an intolerable
risk for Israel. Netanyahu used a cartoon graphic of a bomb to
illustrate his point, indicating three stages of uranium enrichment,
noting that Iran had already completed the first stage, and stating
that "By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment
rates, will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the
final stage. From there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks
before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb." Netanyahu
delivered his speech the day after Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad spoke on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, a presentation
that the American, Canadian, and Israeli delegations had deliberately
not attended. At the time, according to cables leaked in 2015,
Mossad's assessment was that Iran did not appear ready to enrich
uranium to levels required for a nuclear bomb.
In an October 2013 interview with
BBC Persian Service, Netanyahu
praised the history of Persia and said: "if the Iranian regime has
nuclear weapons, the Iranian people will never be free of dictatorship
and will live in eternal servitude."
BANK OF CHINA TERROR FINANCING CASE
In 2013, Netanyahu found himself caught between conflicting
commitments made to the family of American terror victim Daniel Wultz
and the Government of China. Although Netanyahu was reported to have
previously promised U.S. Representative
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that
Israel would fully cooperate in the terror-financing case against Bank
of China in U.S. District Court, the prime minister reportedly made a
conflicting promise to the Government of China prior to a state visit
to China in May 2013. Attorney
David Boies , lead counsel for the
Wultz family, told the Wall Street Journal, "While we are respectful
of China's interests, and of the diplomatic pressure to which Israel
has been subjected, those interests and that pressure cannot be
permitted to obstruct the ability of American courts to hear critical
In August 2013, Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Middle East and
South Asia subcommittee, told the Miami Herald she raised the issue
while leading a congressional delegation to Israel, stressing to
Israeli officials the importance of them providing the Wultz family
what they need for their lawsuit. "I am hopeful that we can bring
this case to a conclusion that is satisfactory to the family, but we
need community support to not waver at this critical time,"
Debbie Wasserman Schultz , chair of the
Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee , also spoke out on the issue with the
Miami Herald: "In South Florida, we all know too well of the tragic
circumstances surrounding the cowardly terrorist attack that took
Daniel Wultz\'s innocent life. I have been working, hand in hand with
the Wultz family and the state of
Israel to ensure any and all of
those involved in this terrorist activity, including the Bank of
China, pay for their crimes so that justice can be served."
DEFENSE AND SECURITY
Israelis in Ashkelon run for shelter following a missile alert
Operation Protective Edge
In 2011, Netanyahu arranged for 1000
Hamas and Fatah prisoners to be
Gilad Shalit , including terrorists with "blood on their
hands." Israeli officials estimate that 60% of those who are released
"resume terrorism attacks".
In 2011, Israeli General Staff concluded that the armed forces cannot
maintain their battle readiness under Netanyahu's proposed cuts.
However Netanyahu decided to cut social programs instead, and promised
to increase the defense budget by about six percent. In spite of
this, the Israeli military still fell NIS 3.7 million short from its
projected budget, which could damage their war capabilities.
According to a U.S. State Department representative in November 2011,
under the leadership of Netanyahu and Obama,
Israel and the United
States have enjoyed unprecedented security cooperation.
Under Netanyahu's leadership, the Israeli National Security Council
has seen an expanded role in foreign policy planning and
In his 1995 book Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat
Domestic and International Terrorism, Netanyahu strongly argued that
tightening immigration laws to the West is the most effective method
to combat terrorism. "This era of immigration free-for-all should be
brought to an end," he wrote in 1995.
In 2012 the Netanyahu government passed the "Prevention of
Infiltration Law", which mandated automatic detention of all people,
including asylum-seekers, who enter
Israel without permission. Amnesty
International called it "an affront to international law." Between
2009 and 2013, approximately 60,000 people crossed into
various African countries. Netanyahu said that, "this phenomenon is
very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national
security and our national identity." Many of these migrants are held
in detention camps in the Negev desert. When the Supreme Court of
Israel declared the "Prevention of Infiltration Law" illegal for
permitting immediate and indefinite detention of asylum seekers from
Africa, Netanyahu requested new legislation to work around the Supreme
Netanyahu is critical of what he sees as the overly open immigration
policy of EU nations. Netanyahu has urged the leaders of Hungary,
Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to illegal
Supreme Court justice
Prime Minister of Israel
Netanyahu comes from a highly accomplished family. Related to Rabbi
Eliyahu of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon) on his paternal side, Netanyahu was
Tel Aviv , to Prof.
Benzion Netanyahu (original name
Mileikowsky) and Tzila (Cela; née Segal). His mother was born in 1912
Petah Tikva , part of the future
British Mandate of Palestine
British Mandate of Palestine that
Israel . Though all his grandparents were born in
Russian Empire (now
Belarus , Lithuania and Poland), his mother's
parents emigrated to
Minneapolis in the United States. Netanyahu
Hanukkah candles on the first night in the Prime Minister\'s
Jerusalem with his wife, Sara and their sons, Yair and
Netanyahu's father, Benzion , was a professor of
Jewish history at
Cornell University , editor of the
Encyclopaedia Hebraica , and a
senior aide to Ze\'ev Jabotinsky , who remained active in research and
writing into his nineties. Regarding the
Palestinian people , he
stated: "That they won't be able to face the war with us, which will
include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education,
terminating electrical power and more. They won't be able to exist,
and they will run away from here. But it all depends on the war, and
whether we will win the battles with them." Netanyahu has dismissed
those who note similarities between his relentlessly hawkish views and
those of his late father as "psychobabble". For example, David Remnick
has written: "To understand Bibi, you have to understand the father."
Netanyahu's paternal grandfather was
Nathan Mileikowsky , a leading
Zionist rabbi and JNF fundraiser. Netanyahu's older brother, Yonatan
, was killed in
Operation Entebbe in 1976. His younger
brother, Iddo , is a radiologist and writer. All three brothers served
Sayeret Matkal reconnaissance unit of the
Israel Defense Forces
MARRIAGES AND RELATIONSHIPS
Netanyahu has been married three times. Netanyahu's first marriage
was to Miriam Weizmann, whom he met in Israel. Weizmann lived near
Yonatan Netanyahu's apartment in Jerusalem, where Netanyahu was based
during his military service. By the time Netanyahu's service was
finished, Weizmann had completed her own military service and a degree
in chemistry from the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem . In 1972, they
both left to study in the United States, where she enrolled in
Brandeis University , while Netanyahu studied at MIT. They married
soon afterward. The couple had one daughter, Noa (born 29 April 1978).
In 1978, while Weizmann was pregnant, Netanyahu met a non-Jewish
British student named Fleur Cates at the university library, and began
an affair. His marriage ended in divorce soon afterward, when his wife
Miriam discovered the affair. In 1981, Netanyahu married Cates, and
she converted to
Judaism . The couple divorced in 1984.
His third wife, Sara Ben-Artzi , was working as a flight attendant on
El Al flight from New York to
Israel when they met. She was in
the process of completing a master's degree in psychology. The couple
married in 1991 and has two sons: Yair, a former soldier in the IDF
Spokesperson\'s Unit , and Avner, a national Bible champion and
winner of the National Bible Quiz for Youth in
Kiryat Shmona .
In 1993, Netanyahu confessed on live television to having had an
affair with Ruth Bar, his public relations adviser, claiming that a
political rival had planted a secret video camera that had recorded
him in a sexually compromising position with Bar, and that he had been
threatened with the release of the tape to the press unless he quit
Likud leadership race. Benjamin and Sara repaired their marriage,
and Netanyahu was elected to the leadership of Likud. In 1996, there
were media reports of his 20-year friendship with Katherine
Price-Mondadori, an Italian-American woman. During the 1990s,
Netanyahu criticized this media intrusion into his private life,
claiming that political rivals including David Levy had hired spies on
him in order to try to gather evidence of alleged affairs, although it
was noted that the Israeli public are generally not interested in
their politician's private lives and would prefer they remained
Netanyahu became a grandfather on 1 October 2009, when his daughter
Noa Netanyahu-Roth (married to Daniel Roth) gave birth to a boy,
Shmuel. In 2011, Noa and her husband Daniel had a second son named
David, and in 2016 had a daughter. Noa is a baalat teshuva (someone
born to a secular family that became a returnee to Orthodox
and lives in
Mea Shearim with her family.
RELATIONS WITH FOREIGN LEADERS
Barack Obama Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin
Netanyahu has a close relationship with Hungarian leader Viktor
Orbán , their having known each other for decades due to the
privileged relationship between the
Likud Party and the EPP, the
European People\'s Party . Orban particularly admired Netanyahu while
he was working as Finance Minister, and received advice from him while
Netanyahu was Finance Minister of Israel.
Netanyahu has been noted for his close and friendly relationship with
then Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi . Netanyahu has said of
Berlusconi: "We are lucky that there is a leader such as yourself."
Netanyahu has described Berlusconi as "one of the greatest friends".
2011 G-20 Cannes summit , Former French president Nicolas
Sarkozy was overheard saying to U.S. President Barack Obama, "I cannot
bear Netanyahu, he's a liar", and Obama reportedly responded, "You're
fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day."
Netanyahu and U.S. President
Donald Trump have known each other for
many years. Netanyahu had been a friend of Donald Trump's father when
Netanyahu lived in New York during the 1980s, serving as UN
ambassador. In 2013, Trump made a video endorsing Netanyahu during
the Israeli elections saying, "vote for Benjamin - terrific guy,
terrific leader, great for Israel.”
Netanyahu has close ties with the congressional leadership of the
U.S. Republican Party and with its 2012 Presidential Candidate, Mitt
Romney. He and Romney first became acquainted when both worked at the
Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group in the mid-1970s. U.S. Vice President Joe
Biden , a Democrat , has been friendly with Netanyahu for many years.
In November 2011 and in the 2012 U.S. vice presidential debate ,
Biden stated that the relationship has lasted for 39 years. Netanyahu
remarked in March 2010 during a joint statement with Biden during his
Israel that their friendship had started almost three
In October 2014, author
Jeffrey Goldberg related a conversation in
which Goldberg said a senior official of the Obama administration
called Netanyahu a "chickenshit" after Netanyahu accused U.S.
Barack Obama of “acting contrary to American values.”
Goldberg went on to say that Netanyahu and his cabinet were largely to
blame for the tensions between the Netanyahu and Obama governments.
Secretary of State
John Kerry phoned Netanyahu to clarify that "such
statements are disgraceful, unacceptable and damaging" and "do not
reflect the position of the United States." Netanyahu responded by
saying "I'm being attacked because of my determination to defend
Israel's interests. The safety of
Israel is not important to those who
attack me anonymously and personally." Because of evident rifts
between Netanyahu and members of the Obama administration, observers
have characterized the relationship as having reached a crisis level
by October 2014. The relationship between Netanyahu and the Obama
administration had become problematic enough that Jeffrey Goldberg
reported in November 2014 that his conversations with Netanyahu and
other Israeli officials indicated
Israel would wait until a new U.S.
president is elected before attempting to repair the relationship with
the White House. According to
Alon Pinkas , a former diplomat and
adviser to Israeli prime ministers, “Netanyahu’s
self-righteousness that this resolution is going to be changed or
reversed by Trump is totally unfounded."
On 23 December 2016, the
United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council passed a
resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements . In a departure
from longstanding American policy, the U.S. abstained from the vote
and did not exercise its veto power . At the behest of the Netanyahu
government, President-elect Trump attempted to intercede by publicly
advocating the resolution be vetoed and successfully persuading
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to temporarily withdraw it from
consideration. The resolution was then "proposed again by
New Zealand ,
Venezuela "—and passed 14 to 0.
Netanyahu's office alleged that "the Obama administration not only
failed to protect
Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded
with it behind the scenes," adding: "
Israel looks forward to working
with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress,
Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this
Play media Video clip about
Benjamin Netanyahu by
* International Terrorism: Challenge and Response. Transaction
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