Israel’s Netanyahu Battered by Scandals, High Living Costs

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 20, 2012 (DoD/D. Myles Cullen)

With polls predicting a narrow victory for his left-wing rivals in an election next week, it seems Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s magic may have worn off.

The Likud party leader called snap elections in December, hoping for a fresh mandate after spending nine years in power.

Now it seems Israelis would rather make a change at the top and much of it has to do with Netanyahu’s personality. Read more “Israel’s Netanyahu Battered by Scandals, High Living Costs”

Netanyahu Urges Right-Wing Voters Not to Abandon Likud

Benjamin Netanyahu Barack Obama
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American president Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 3, 2014 (GPO/Avi Ohayon)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned right-wing voters that casting a ballot for another conservative party than his Likud could raise the chance of the left being able to form a government after the election next week.

Netanyahu made his remarks after three polls showed Likud winning 21 seats against 25 for the rival Zionist Camp.

61 seats are needed for a majority in the Knesset. Read more “Netanyahu Urges Right-Wing Voters Not to Abandon Likud”

Israel’s Netanyahu Could Emerge Stronger from Early Elections

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 20, 2012 (DoD/D. Myles Cullen)

Recent political tensions and strife in Israel culminated on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he had fired his finance and justice ministers, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, whom he accused of undermining the government and plotting a legal “putsch” against him.

The announcement came after days of rising tension between Netanyahu and his top ministers and means Israelis will go back to the polls less than two years after this government took office. Read more “Israel’s Netanyahu Could Emerge Stronger from Early Elections”

Amid Gaza Strikes, Netanyahu Rules Out West Bank Withdrawals

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 20, 2012 (DoD/D. Myles Cullen)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday ruled out withdrawing forces from the West Bank, a key demand by Palestinians who hope to establish the core of their own state there.

“At present we have a problem with the territory called Gaza,” Netanyahu said. The West Bank is twenty times the size of Gaza. Israel, he added, is not prepared “to create another twenty Gazas.”

In remarks that were made in Hebrew and translated by The Times of Israel, the Israeli leader did not rule out territorial concessions altogether but underlined the danger of giving up what he described as “adjacent territory.” Read more “Amid Gaza Strikes, Netanyahu Rules Out West Bank Withdrawals”

Netanyahu Excludes Religious Parties from Ruling Coalition

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has excluded religious parties that propped up his previous governments from his latest coalition in order to pull in centrists who emerged with strong support from January’s election.

The parties led by former television personality Yair Lapid and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni won nineteen and six seats in the Knesset, respectively, appealing mainly to middle-class voters with promises to overhaul the education system, reduce a housing shortage and abolish the military draft exemption for Jewish seminary students. Read more “Netanyahu Excludes Religious Parties from Ruling Coalition”

Israel’s Nationalists Could Be Kingmakers After Election

View of the Knesset in Israel, Jerusalem, April 8, 2009
View of the Knesset in Israel, Jerusalem, April 8, 2009 (Israel Tourism)

There is little doubt Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will win reelection on Tuesday, but what coalition of parties should rule the Jewish state remains unclear.

Netanyahu’s conservative Likud, which has merged with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, is expected to win a plurality of the seats in the new Knesset.

The more right-wing Jewish Home, led by former businessman and settler leader Naftali Bennett, may get as many as fourteen seats, making it almost impossible for Netanyahu to govern without it. Read more “Israel’s Nationalists Could Be Kingmakers After Election”

Netanyahu Tries to Fend Off Right-Wing Challenge

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 20, 2012 (DoD/D. Myles Cullen)

Benjamin Netanyahu is fending off a right-wing challenge ahead of Israel’s parliamentary election later this month, urging conservative voters to stick with his Likud party and not defect to the far right.

In a number of local radio interviews, the Israeli leader maintained that the only way for the right to remain in power “is to vote for me.”

Any other vote, by those who want me as prime minister and don’t vote for me, increases the chance that the left will return to govern and lead the country instead of us.

Read more “Netanyahu Tries to Fend Off Right-Wing Challenge”

Israeli Ruling Parties Lose Support After Hamas Truce

The ceasefire that was reached with Hamas this week has cost Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party support in the polls, although it is still on track to win January’s election.

Following American and Egyptian mediation, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel agreed on Wednesday to cease hostilities on the Gaza border after a week of fighting.

The truce isn’t popular in Israel. According to a survey published by the Maariv newspaper, just 31 percent of Israelis approve of it. Read more “Israeli Ruling Parties Lose Support After Hamas Truce”

Netanyahu, Barak Considered Iran Strike Two Years Ago

Israeli paratroopers wait to begin a training mission, January 17
Israeli paratroopers wait to begin a training mission, January 17 (IDF)

It has become something of a parlor game in Tel Aviv and Washington DC to speculate about when Israel will finally strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

There have been a number of controversial articles in the last few years about this very question, from Jeffrey Goldberg’s “The Point of No Return” to Ronen Bergman’s “Will Israel Attack Iran?”

Most argued that, at some point, Israel’s leaders will decide that Tehran’s nuclear program is too dangerous to ignore and that military action is the only way to stop it.

They may have been more right than they imagined. Read more “Netanyahu, Barak Considered Iran Strike Two Years Ago”