Archive for the ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’ Category

Meet Trumps Envoy-at-Large: Benjamin Netanyahu

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A couple of years ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was shunned by the White House.

During a conversation believed to be off-record with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the 2011 G-20 summit, President Barack Obama didn’t disagree when Sarkozy called Netanyahu a “liar.” And on the occasions Obama and Netanyahu did meet, the strained body language paid testimony to the mutual hostility.

The two clashed over the peace process, Netanyahus Jewish settlements policy in the West Bank and the Arab spring.

With Donald Trump in the White House that has changed a shift dramatically symbolized in December when the U.S. President announced Washingtons recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv.

The Israeli leader is now feted by a Trump administration which sees him not only as an ideological ally but increasingly, say diplomats and analysts, as an envoy-at-large, blazing a trail for President Trump to Moscow and marshaling his admirers among the populist nationalist leaders of Central Europe as well as orchestrating with the U.S. administration other diplomatic initiatives.

According to Arab and U.S. officials, the Israeli leader has been a key advocate for establishing a new security and political partnership between the U.S. and the six Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states as well as Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Irans expansion in the region. Behind the scenes, Netanyahu has been building strong security ties with Egypt and the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, all of whom see Iran and Islamists as threats that outweigh their historical commitments to the Palestinians.

Nicknamed the Arab NATO, the Trump administration has been quietly pushing ahead with the idea, officially known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA).

On Friday, the Reuters news agency reported the Trump administration hopes MESA will be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled to take place in Washington in October. Netanyahu has been a sherpa [emissary) helping to guide this effort, a Gulf diplomat told VOA.

The Israeli leader wields arguably more clout in Washington than any of his predecessors, with some Israeli diplomats bragging sometimes it is hard to know whos working for whom.

Earlier this month, an Israeli public broadcaster aired a video clip of Netanyahu telling senior members of his Likud party that he had helped to defeat European efforts to dissuade Trump from withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and that he was responsible for finally persuading Trump to abandon it.

We convinced the U.S. president [to exit the deal] and I had to stand up against the whole world and come out against this agreement, Netanyahu said. And the Israeli leader has been tireless in selling to other American allies Trumps withdrawal from the deal, signed by Barack Obama in 2015 in which Tehran agreed to nuclear curbs in return for sanctions relief.

In June, Netanyahu went on a whirlwind four-day tour of European capitals, meeting with national leaders in Berlin, Paris and London, part of a diplomatic campaign of attrition, his aides said, to get the Europeans to block Irans expansion of its military and political influence in the region.

He got more of a hearing than he would have in the past, say his aides. As his trip wound down, they claimed he had made progress in persuading European leaders that they need to do more to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East and contain Tehrans military ambitions in the region.

From being isolated on the World stage during the Obama era, Netanyahu, thanks to his ties to the Trump White House, has become a mover and shaker, helping to shape an arc of strongmen from Washington to Moscow, where he has nurtured close ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he talks with on average twice a week, say Israeli diplomats.

Both President Trump and his Russian counterpart singled out Netanyahu for praise during their joint press conference earlier this month in Helsinki. We have worked with Israel for decades – there has never been a country closer to us, and Putin is also very close to Israel, we have both talked to Benjamin Netanyahu, and both countries want to help Israel defend itself, Trump said. The U.S. President said later in an interview with Fox News that he was under the impression Putin is a fan of Bibi, referring to the Israeli leader’s nickname.

Netanyahu’s enhanced standing on the World stage stands in contrast, though, to his increasingly beleaguered position politically in Israel, where he is engulfed in a series of corruption scandals and facing mounting public dissatisfaction over the rising cost of living and disapproval of what Israeli academic Jonathan Rynhold has argued, is his pandering to the political parties which represent the Ultra-Orthodox, known in Israel as the Haredim.

Nonetheless, Rynhold noted in an expert comment for Britains Chatham House: Polls show that Netanyahu continues to be viewed as the most suitable person to serve as prime minister, even if a majority of Israelis are dissatisfied with his performance.

Surveys over the last several months have suggested that while a majority of Israelis see Netanyahu as corrupt, they would still vote for him. While his party has slid somewhat in the last few weeks, polls indicate it continues in lead with some analysts saying the drop had more to do with his flip-flopping on social issues than his policy on Trump and the Palestinians.

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Meet Trumps Envoy-at-Large: Benjamin Netanyahu

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August 5, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Israeli police find ‘sufficient evidence’ to indict …

According to a police statement published late Tuesday, authorities found evidence of “accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust.”

In a televised statement, Netanyahu said that the allegations against him would be dismissed, repeating what has become his catchphrase, “There will be nothing because there is nothing.”

In a statement given moments before police issued their official findings, he said: “I think about the good of the country not for personal reasons of the press, but only for the country, and nothing will stop me from doing this, not even the attacks against me, and believe me they’re never ending.

“And, therefore, today isn’t different from any other days which I’ve been through in past 20 years.”

When asked whether the US had any reaction to the police statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “The only thing I have to say about that is that the United States has a very strong relationship, not only with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also the Israeli government. We’re certainly aware of it, but we consider it to be an internal Israeli matter.”

In Case 1000, Netanyahu is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas totaling 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000), including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more, from 2007 through 2016.

The case has focused primarily on Netanyahu’s relationship with Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

In exchange for the gifts, police say, Netanyahu tried to advance a tax break that would have benefited Milchan, though he was blocked by the Finance Ministry.

“According to suspicions, the Prime Minister worked to advance the extension of the tax waiver for returning citizens over 10 years, a benefit that has a considerable economic value for Mr. Milchan,” the police statement said.

MK Yair Lapid, one of Netanyahu’s chief rivals who served as finance minister during this period and was called to testify during the investigation, called on Netanyahu to step down. “Even if the law does not require the Prime Minister to resign, someone who has such serious accusations against them, many of which he does not deny, cannot continue to serve as Prime Minister with responsibility for the security and well-being of Israel’s citizens,” Lapid said.

Police say they have enough evidence to indict Milchan on charges of bribery.

Milchan fired back at police, insisting he and Netanyahu have been friends since long before the period under investigation.

“The recommendation disregards indisputable basic facts including — the ties between Mr. Milchan and Mr. Netanyahu started in the early years of 2000, when Netanyahu had no government role. This connection was characterized by friendship between the two and their families. In this framework, gifts were given from time to time by Mr. Milchan to the Netanyahu family with no business interest,” said Milchan’s lawyer.

In Case 2000, police say Netanyahu discussed “bartering” with Arnon “Noni” Mozes, the owner of one of Israel’s leading newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, which is regularly critical of the Prime Minister.

In exchange for more favorable coverage, Netanyahu promised to hamper the circulation of a rival newspaper, in recordings obtained by police.

“In his framework, what was discussed was the assistance of Mr. Mozes to Netanyahu in establishing his stature as Prime Minister through positive coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth that, in return for the Prime Minister assisting Mr. Mozes in advancing economic interests of Yedioth Ahronoth by an initiative to block the strengthening of Israel Hayom,” the police statement said.

Both Netanyahu and Mozes have said these were not serious discussions; rather, they each claim they were trying to expose the other’s lack of trustworthiness. Police say there is enough evidence to indict Mozes on charges of offering bribes.

In a statement to Israeli media, the lawyer for Mozes said, “The cases against him will be closed.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, insisting that investigators will find he did nothing wrong.

Attorney general

Police will now pass the evidence to the attorney general, who will make a decision on whether or not to indict the Prime Minister. That decision is not expected imminently.

By Israeli law, he is only required to step down if he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process to the High Court, a process that could take years.

However, he could face public and political pressure to step down much earlier.

His coalition partners, so far, have backed him, saying they will not take down the government over a police conclusion.

Earlier this week, Education Minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, said, “I wish from the depths of my heart that the PM will come out clean and will continue leading the State of Israel. An indictment sheet seems far away, and certainly one does not go for elections over [police] recommendations.”

Echoing his position, Finance Minister and head of the center-right Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon said, “Let the [police] recommendations be published. We will not avoid a decision, but I’m telling you right now, by law, the law says until the stage of the attorney general, there is no need to deal with it at all.”

Both parties have enough seats in Netanyahu’s 66-seat coalition to take down the government and force new elections.

In an effort to deflect blame, Netanyahu has lashed out, attacking the police, the media, the opposition and the left in rallies and on social media. He has often called the investigations against him “fake news,” echoing the language of President Donald Trump.

Last week, Israeli Police Chief Roni Alsheich, in an interview with Israel’s Keshet news channel, said “powerful elements” were “sniffing” around investigators working on the Netanyahu cases.

Firing back, Netanyahu said he was “shocked by the insinuations” that he had sent private detectives to tail police, arguing that it casts doubt over the impartiality of the investigations.

In a strike against the police chief after the interview, Likud MK Yoav Kisch, a hardline supporter of Netanyahu from within the Prime Minister’s party, summoned Alsheich to a meeting of the Interior Committee at the Knesset for Wednesday morning.

CNN’s Oren Liebermann reported from Jerusalem. James Masters wrote from London. Amir Tal in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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Benjamin Netanyahu defends ‘Iran lied’ presentation – CNN

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Benjamin Netanyahu – Forbes

Stats

Age68

ResidenceJerusalem, Israel

CitizenshipIsrael

Marital StatusMarried

Children3

EducationBachelor of Arts/Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Netanyahu, served for five years in Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces and was injured during an operation.

Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi (short for his first name), has a Bachelor in architecture and a Masters in Business, both from MIT.

I think that a strong Israel is the only Israel that will bring the Arabs to the peace table.

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Benjamin Netanyahu | Topic Article – Business Standard …

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Opinion | Benjamin Netanyahus Nuclear Nothingburger – The …

On Monday morning, Middle East watchers awoke to astonishing news from Israel. A headline in The Jerusalem Post read, Netanyahu to Address Country with Dramatic News About Iran. As the day passed, details remained sparse, but it became clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to unveil secret evidence of Iranian cheating on the nuclear deal. The timing of the announcement, right after the new American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, met with Mr. Netanyahu, accentuated its gravity.

Monday afternoon, just a bit behind schedule, Mr. Netanyahu took to the stage next to an enormous screen. The headlines had suggested he would be in his office at a desk or podium to share news of existential importance. Instead, he presented a minor-league TED Talk and in English, no less. Outside the elite, fewer and fewer people in Israel speak English, so the notion of a countrys leader supposedly addressing his compatriots in a foreign language on a matter of national security added to the weirdness of the performance.

The substance of Mr. Netanyahus allegedly shattering revelation was correspondingly strange. Of greatest interest was the disclosure of a covert operation that spirited Irans nuclear archives out of the country for analysis in Israel. These records, according to Mr. Netanyahu, consisted of 55,000 pages and 183 CDs an enormous load which nicely demonstrated what can happen when a resourceful and audacious intelligence community in one country meets staggering carelessness and incompetence in another.

The archive had been stored in what Mr. Netanyahu described as a derelict warehouse in Tehran. The photos he displayed indicated that there did not even appear to be a lock on the door. One wonders how important the Iranians thought these documents were, given the slapdash approach they took to storing them. In any case, the Mossad operation that netted this haul apparently took place in January and President Trump was briefed on it shortly afterward.

It quickly became obvious in Mr. Netanyahus presentation, however, that these materials were already widely known and that they covered a weapons program that was shut down in 2003, perhaps because Irans leaders reckoned that they were next on the American hit list after Saddam Hussein was toppled, and did not want to get caught with their hand in the nuclear cookie jar. Or perhaps, with Iraq disarmed by the United States, it no longer needed the program.

But this development has been explored exhaustively already in a 2007 United States National Intelligence Estimate that began with this conclusion: We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.

The Iranian archive that Mr. Netanyahu revealed did show clearly that even though the program had been halted, Iran looked forward to restarting it in the future. This is scarcely surprising. After the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when Irans cities were bombarded by Iraqi missiles and its troops attacked with chemical weapons, Iranian leaders probably figured that having a nuclear capacity was a good idea. It probably looked even better when they saw the ease with which the United States defeated Hussein, who possessed one of the regions largest militaries, twice in 12 years.

When the Iranians finally resumed their program, presumably feeling more confident as the George W. Bush administrations effort to domesticate Iraq ran aground, they went at it with gusto. From 2006 to 2013 they installed 20,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at various locations, including an underground complex called Fordow dug secretly into the base of a mountain and intended to be bombproof. Given that Israel had destroyed Iraqs nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syrias in 2007 in air raids, both the choice of location and secrecy surrounding it would have made sense from an Iranian perspective. This too is old news.

It is also widely understood, not least by the American government, that Iran having made the decision in 2015 to put off its nuclear program for 10 years for a shot at economic development is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. And if it is in compliance, then however much its leaders might lust in their hearts for nuclear weapons, the fact remains that they are not making them.

So why did Mr. Netanyahu do his dog and pony show? Because the United States has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal, claiming it was a political agreement whose validity expired along with the Obama administration that negotiated it. The diplomatic novelty of this approach is matched only by a related Trump doctrine that Iran is in violation of the spirit of the agreement, even if it is abiding by the letter of the law.

A withdrawal decision, one way or another, is to be announced on May 12. Since the members of Congress will have a say on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran, Mr. Netanyahus pitch must surely have been directed to them.

Americans might distrust the C.I.A. and wince when recalling its verdict that Husseins nuclear, chemical and biological capacity was a slam dunk, but even Democrats might be seduced by Mossads reputation and susceptible to Mr. Netanyahus mishmash of stale reporting, truisms and outright hucksterism, especially given the credibility the current Israeli government enjoys in key constituencies. In 2015, Mr. Netanyahu deployed this stratagem before a joint session of Congress; this time, he deployed it from an auditorium in Israels Ministry of Defense.

That the Trump administration has evidently colluded with Israel to influence Americans understanding of a major strategic issue fits an established, dispiriting pattern. If the president can convince us that the Iran nuclear deal damages our national interest, which encompasses the security of our allies, very well. But if he cant, then Id prefer not to hear it from a foreign leader.

Steven Simon, author of the forthcoming book The Long Goodbye: The U.S. and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring, was the National Security Councils senior director for the Middle East and North Africa from 2011 to 2012.

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Benjamin Netanyahu | Biography & Facts | Britannica.com

Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin also spelled Binyamin, byname Bibi, (born October 21, 1949, Tel Aviv [now Tel AvivYafo], Israel), Israeli politician and diplomat, who twice served as his countrys prime minister (199699 and 2009 ).

In 1963 Netanyahu, the son of the historian Benzion Netanyahu, moved with his family to Philadelphia in the United States. After enlisting in the Israeli military in 1967, he became a soldier in the elite special operations unit Sayeret Matkal and was on the team that rescued a hijacked jet plane at the Tel Aviv airport in 1972. He later studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.B.A., 1976), taking time out to fight in the Yom Kippur War in Israel in 1973. After his brother Jonathan died while leading the successful Entebbe raid in 1976, Benjamin founded the Jonathan Institute, which sponsored conferences on terrorism.

Netanyahu held several ambassadorship positions before being elected to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) as a Likud member in 1988. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs (198891) and then as a deputy minister in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabins coalition cabinet (199192). In 1993 he easily won election as the leader of the Likud party, succeeding Yitzhak Shamir in that post. Netanyahu became noted for his opposition to the 1993 Israel-PLO peace accords and the resulting Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The governing Labour Party entered the 1996 elections with weakened electoral appeal following Rabins assassination in November 1995 and a series of suicide bombings by Muslim militants early in 1996. Netanyahu eked out a victory margin of about 1 percent over Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the elections of May 29, 1996, the first in which the prime minister was directly elected. Netanyahu became the youngest person ever to serve as Israels prime minister when he formed a government on June 18.

Unrest dominated Netanyahus first prime ministership. Soon after he entered office, relations with Syria deteriorated, and his decision in September 1996 to open an ancient tunnel near Al-Aqsa Mosque angered Palestinians and sparked intense fighting. Netanyahu then reversed his earlier opposition to the 1993 peace accords and in 1997 agreed to withdraw troops from most of the West Bank town of Hebron. Pressure from within his coalition, however, led Netanyahu to announce his intention to establish a new Jewish settlement on land claimed by the Palestinians. He also significantly lowered the amount of land that would be handed over to the Palestinians during Israels next phase of withdrawal from the West Bank. Violent protests, including a series of bombings, ensued. In 1998 Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat participated in peace talks that resulted in the Wye Memorandum, the terms of which included placing as much as 40 percent of the West Bank under Palestinian control. The agreement was opposed by right-wing groups in Israel, and several factions in Netanyahus government coalition quit. In 1998 the Knesset dissolved the government, and new elections were scheduled for May 1999.

Netanyahus reelection campaign was hindered by a fragmented right wing as well as by voters growing dislike of his inconsistent peace policies and his often abrasive style. In addition, a series of scandals had plagued his administration, including his appointment in 1997 of Roni Bar-On, a Likud party functionary, as attorney general. Allegations that Bar-On would arrange a plea bargain for a Netanyahu ally who had been charged with fraud and bribery led to a series of confidence votes in the Knesset. With his core political support undermined, Netanyahu was easily defeated by Ehud Barak, leader of the Labour Party, in the 1999 elections.

Netanyahu was succeeded as head of Likud in 1999 by Ariel Sharon but remained a popular figure in the party. When early elections were called in 2001, Netanyahu, who had resigned his seat in the Knesset and thus was ineligible to run for prime minister, unsuccessfully challenged Sharon for leadership of the party. In Sharons government, Netanyahu served as foreign minister (200203) and finance minister (200305). In 2005 Sharon left Likud and formed a centrist party, Kadima. Netanyahu was subsequently elected leader of Likud and was the partys unsuccessful prime ministerial candidate for the 2006 Knesset elections in which Likud secured only 12 seats to Kadimas 29.

The election of February 2009 saw sizable Likud gains as Netanyahu led the party to 27 Knesset seats, finishing a single seat behind Kadima, led by Tzipi Livni. Because of the close and inconclusive nature of the results, however, it was not immediately clear which partys leader would be invited to form a coalition government. Through the course of coalition discussions in the days that followed, Netanyahu gathered the support of Yisrael Beiteinu (15 seats), Shas (11 seats), and a number of smaller parties, and he was asked by Israels president to form the government, which was sworn in on March 31, 2009.

In June 2009 Netanyahu for the first time expressed qualified support for the principle of an independent Palestinian state, with the conditions that any future Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized and would have to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Those conditions were quickly rejected by Palestinian leaders. A brief round of negotiations in 2010 broke down when a 10-month partial moratorium on building settlements in the West Bank expired and Israel refused to extend it. The peace process remained at a standstill for the rest of Netanyahus term.

Netanyahu also took a hard line in foreign affairs, lobbying for the international community to take stronger action against Irans alleged nuclear weapons program, which he described as the greatest threat to Israeli security and world peace. He also expressed pessimistic views regarding a series of popular uprisings and revolutions in the Arab world in 2011 that were collectively referred to as the Arab Spring, predicting that new Arab leaders would be more hostile to Israel than their predecessors.

Domestically, Netanyahu also faced growing economic discontent among the middle class and the young. In the summer of 2011 large street protests spread throughout Israel decrying social and economic inequality and calling on the government to increase its support for transportation, education, child care, housing, and other public services.

Elections in January 2013 returned Netanyahu to the post of prime minister, but at the head of a coalition that appeared closer to the political centre than his previous one. A reinvigorated centre-left had emerged, led by Yesh Atid, a newly formed party that had campaigned on middle-class socioeconomic concerns. Meanwhile, a combined list presented by Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu had won the largest number of Knesset seats in 2013 but fell short of expectations. After weeks of negotiations, Netanyahu was able to forge an agreement between the LikudYisrael Beitneinu bloc, Yesh Atid, Livnis Hatnua party, and several smaller parties.

In July 2014 Netanyahu ordered a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire into Israel. At the end of the 50-day campaign, Netanyahu stated that the objective of significantly damaging militants capability to fire rockets had been achieved. Internationally, however, the operation was criticized for the high number of Palestinian casualties. By late 2014 serious disagreements had emerged within the governing coalition over budget issues and a controversial bill that would have defined Israel as a Jewish state. In December Netanyahu dismissed Livni and Lapid from the cabinet, triggering early elections set for March 2015.

New tension was injected into the relationship between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obamaalready strained by disagreements over negotiations with the Palestiniansin 2014, when Netanyahu emerged as a vocal critic of the Obama administrations Iran policy, which sought to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through international negotiations. Netanyahu charged that any compromise would ultimately leave Iran with the option of developing nuclear weapons and that sanctions against Iran should be maintained instead.

In January 2015, with Israels elections approaching, Netanyahu accepted an invitation to address the U.S. Congress regarding Iran, which he did on March 3. The invitation was the source of considerable controversy because it had been issued by the speaker of the House of Representatives without notifying the White Housea departure from protocol for visiting heads of stateand because Netanyahu was widely expected to voice criticism of the Obama administration. Critics in Israel and the United States charged that, by openly aligning himself with the partisan opponents of a sitting president, Netanyahu was putting the United States bipartisan support for Israel at risk.

As the March 17 election grew closer, analysts predicted that it would be a very close race between Netanyahus Likud party and the Zionist Union, a centre-left alliance comprising the Labour Party and Hatnua. When results were released, it became clear that Netanyahu and Likud had won the most Knesset seats30, followed by the Zionist Union, with 24in a surprisingly decisive victory.

Netanyahus fourth term took place in the shadow of several ongoing investigations into bribery and other forms of corruption by Netanyahu and members of his inner circle. In February 2018 Israeli police announced that they had found sufficient evidence to charge Netanyahu with bribery and fraud in two cases. In the first case, Netanyahu had allegedly traded political favours for gifts, including expensive cigars, champagne, and jewelry. In the second, he had allegedly sought to secure favourable coverage from the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in exchange for cutting the circulation of a rival paper, Israel Hayom. In a televised address, Netanyahu denied the allegations and vowed not to step down as prime minister.

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mild viral …

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Benjamin Netanyahu Is Questioned in 3rd Corruption Case in …

Inside the Balfour Street residence, Mr. Netanyahu was questioned for hours under caution as a possible suspect, according to the police. His wife, Sara, was questioned simultaneously as a suspect in the same case at the fraud investigation units headquarters in Lod, central Israel.

The latest twist in a spiraling corruption scandal comes on the eve of Mr. Netanyahus departure for Washington, where he is scheduled to meet President Trump and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committees annual policy conference.

Mr. Netanyahu has made a point of maintaining a high-profile presence on the world stage, traveling in recent weeks to India, where he was treated like royalty; to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and to an international security conference in Munich.

Denying all wrongdoing, Mr. Netanyahu has been trying to project a business-as-usual approach despite his mounting legal troubles, aiming to burnish his credentials both at home and abroad as an international player.

In a short video posted on Facebook after he was questioned, Mr. Netanyahu said he was about to embark on a very important visit to the United States and added, in reference to the police investigations, I feel confident that nothing will come of it.

The questioning of the prime minister, who also served as communications minister from 2014 to 2017, in this latest case was expected.

Several members of his close circle have been arrested in the case, including Nir Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahus, and Shlomo Filber, a political operative for Mr. Netanyahus conservative Likud Party and Mr. Netanyahus pick as director general of the Communications Ministry. Mr. Filber, a long-serving Netanyahu aide, has turned state witness.

The case involves a dicey mix of political power, big business and personal relationships. Mr. Netanyahu is a friend of Mr. Elovitch, who owns the Eurocom Group holding company, which owns Bezeq, the Israeli telecommunications giant that has long had a near-monopoly on land lines in the country.

Bezek owns Walla, the Israeli news site that has provided lopsidedly flattering coverage of the Netanyahus for months or years. Sara Netanyahu, a friend of Mr. Elovitchs wife, Iris, is reported to have sent messages to her with demands to tilt the coverage in her husbands favor. Mrs. Elovitch has already been arrested in the affair and spent several days in detention.

Mrs. Netanyahu is facing possible fraud charges in a separate case in which she is accused of misusing about $100,000 in public funds in her management of the prime ministers official residence.

Among other things, the Communications Ministry is said to have pushed regulators to allow the merger of a money-losing satellite network, Yes, also owned by Mr. Elovitch, with Bezeq, a deal that would have reaped huge tax savings for Mr. Elovitch.

At a hearing for two of the suspects in the case in a Tel Aviv court this week, Yehudit Tirosh, a prosecution lawyer, pointed a finger at Mr. Netanyahu in his role as communications minister.

This is a grave case of giving and receiving bribes, Ms. Tirosh was quoted as saying by the Israeli news media. The term positive coverage is misleading. This is harnessing a leading website in return for regulatory favors by the minister of communications and the director general of the Ministry of Communications. The value of the regulatory benefits was about $500 million, she said.

Mr. Netanyahu responded in another Facebook post this week, saying, All actions were carried out in a professional manner based on the recommendations of the professional echelon, professional committees and legal counsel.

Jack Chen, a lawyer representing Mr. Elovitch, said in an interview on Friday that the allegations were baseless, and that his client categorically denied that there was ever any such deal.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has been accused of accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts over 10 years, has found himself and his close associates accused on a variety of fronts:

Case 1000, the gifts-for-favors affair in which the police last month recommended that Mr. Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Case 2000, in which Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, to ensure more favorable coverage. The police have also recommended charges in that case.

Case 3000, which involves suspicions of corruption surrounding a multibillion-dollar purchase of submarines and other naval vessels from a German shipyard. Mr. Netanyahu is not a suspect in that case, though some of his closest confidants are.

Case 4000, which was the subject of the police questioning on Friday.

The Walla news site has changed its tune in recent months, offering some considerably less fawning coverage of the Netanyahus.

In January, it published an earsplitting recorded telephone conversation from 2009 in which Mrs. Netanyahu could be heard berating a publicist over a short gossip column item about her participation in a school fund-raising event that did not cite her educational and professional credentials to her satisfaction.

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Meet Trumps Envoy-at-Large: Benjamin Netanyahu

LONDON A couple of years ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was shunned by the White House. During a conversation believed to be off-record with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the 2011 G-20 summit, President Barack Obama didn’t disagree when Sarkozy called Netanyahu a “liar.” And on the occasions Obama and Netanyahu did meet, the strained body language paid testimony to the mutual hostility. The two clashed over the peace process, Netanyahus Jewish settlements policy in the West Bank and the Arab spring. With Donald Trump in the White House that has changed a shift dramatically symbolized in December when the U.S. President announced Washingtons recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv. The Israeli leader is now feted by a Trump administration which sees him not only as an ideological ally but increasingly, say diplomats and analysts, as an envoy-at-large, blazing a trail for President Trump to Moscow and marshaling his admirers among the populist nationalist leaders of Central Europe as well as orchestrating with the U.S. administration other diplomatic initiatives. According to Arab and U.S. officials, the Israeli leader has been a key advocate for establishing a new security and political partnership between the U.S. and the six Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states as well as Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Irans expansion in the region. Behind the scenes, Netanyahu has been building strong security ties with Egypt and the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, all of whom see Iran and Islamists as threats that outweigh their historical commitments to the Palestinians. Nicknamed the Arab NATO, the Trump administration has been quietly pushing ahead with the idea, officially known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA). On Friday, the Reuters news agency reported the Trump administration hopes MESA will be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled to take place in Washington in October. Netanyahu has been a sherpa [emissary) helping to guide this effort, a Gulf diplomat told VOA. The Israeli leader wields arguably more clout in Washington than any of his predecessors, with some Israeli diplomats bragging sometimes it is hard to know whos working for whom. Earlier this month, an Israeli public broadcaster aired a video clip of Netanyahu telling senior members of his Likud party that he had helped to defeat European efforts to dissuade Trump from withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and that he was responsible for finally persuading Trump to abandon it. We convinced the U.S. president [to exit the deal] and I had to stand up against the whole world and come out against this agreement, Netanyahu said. And the Israeli leader has been tireless in selling to other American allies Trumps withdrawal from the deal, signed by Barack Obama in 2015 in which Tehran agreed to nuclear curbs in return for sanctions relief. In June, Netanyahu went on a whirlwind four-day tour of European capitals, meeting with national leaders in Berlin, Paris and London, part of a diplomatic campaign of attrition, his aides said, to get the Europeans to block Irans expansion of its military and political influence in the region. He got more of a hearing than he would have in the past, say his aides. As his trip wound down, they claimed he had made progress in persuading European leaders that they need to do more to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East and contain Tehrans military ambitions in the region. From being isolated on the World stage during the Obama era, Netanyahu, thanks to his ties to the Trump White House, has become a mover and shaker, helping to shape an arc of strongmen from Washington to Moscow, where he has nurtured close ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he talks with on average twice a week, say Israeli diplomats. Both President Trump and his Russian counterpart singled out Netanyahu for praise during their joint press conference earlier this month in Helsinki. We have worked with Israel for decades – there has never been a country closer to us, and Putin is also very close to Israel, we have both talked to Benjamin Netanyahu, and both countries want to help Israel defend itself, Trump said. The U.S. President said later in an interview with Fox News that he was under the impression Putin is a fan of Bibi, referring to the Israeli leader’s nickname. Netanyahu’s enhanced standing on the World stage stands in contrast, though, to his increasingly beleaguered position politically in Israel, where he is engulfed in a series of corruption scandals and facing mounting public dissatisfaction over the rising cost of living and disapproval of what Israeli academic Jonathan Rynhold has argued, is his pandering to the political parties which represent the Ultra-Orthodox, known in Israel as the Haredim. Nonetheless, Rynhold noted in an expert comment for Britains Chatham House: Polls show that Netanyahu continues to be viewed as the most suitable person to serve as prime minister, even if a majority of Israelis are dissatisfied with his performance. Surveys over the last several months have suggested that while a majority of Israelis see Netanyahu as corrupt, they would still vote for him. While his party has slid somewhat in the last few weeks, polls indicate it continues in lead with some analysts saying the drop had more to do with his flip-flopping on social issues than his policy on Trump and the Palestinians.

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Israeli police find ‘sufficient evidence’ to indict …

According to a police statement published late Tuesday, authorities found evidence of “accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust.” In a televised statement, Netanyahu said that the allegations against him would be dismissed, repeating what has become his catchphrase, “There will be nothing because there is nothing.” In a statement given moments before police issued their official findings, he said: “I think about the good of the country not for personal reasons of the press, but only for the country, and nothing will stop me from doing this, not even the attacks against me, and believe me they’re never ending. “And, therefore, today isn’t different from any other days which I’ve been through in past 20 years.” When asked whether the US had any reaction to the police statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “The only thing I have to say about that is that the United States has a very strong relationship, not only with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also the Israeli government. We’re certainly aware of it, but we consider it to be an internal Israeli matter.” In Case 1000, Netanyahu is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas totaling 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000), including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more, from 2007 through 2016. The case has focused primarily on Netanyahu’s relationship with Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. In exchange for the gifts, police say, Netanyahu tried to advance a tax break that would have benefited Milchan, though he was blocked by the Finance Ministry. “According to suspicions, the Prime Minister worked to advance the extension of the tax waiver for returning citizens over 10 years, a benefit that has a considerable economic value for Mr. Milchan,” the police statement said. MK Yair Lapid, one of Netanyahu’s chief rivals who served as finance minister during this period and was called to testify during the investigation, called on Netanyahu to step down. “Even if the law does not require the Prime Minister to resign, someone who has such serious accusations against them, many of which he does not deny, cannot continue to serve as Prime Minister with responsibility for the security and well-being of Israel’s citizens,” Lapid said. Police say they have enough evidence to indict Milchan on charges of bribery. Milchan fired back at police, insisting he and Netanyahu have been friends since long before the period under investigation. “The recommendation disregards indisputable basic facts including — the ties between Mr. Milchan and Mr. Netanyahu started in the early years of 2000, when Netanyahu had no government role. This connection was characterized by friendship between the two and their families. In this framework, gifts were given from time to time by Mr. Milchan to the Netanyahu family with no business interest,” said Milchan’s lawyer. In Case 2000, police say Netanyahu discussed “bartering” with Arnon “Noni” Mozes, the owner of one of Israel’s leading newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, which is regularly critical of the Prime Minister. In exchange for more favorable coverage, Netanyahu promised to hamper the circulation of a rival newspaper, in recordings obtained by police. “In his framework, what was discussed was the assistance of Mr. Mozes to Netanyahu in establishing his stature as Prime Minister through positive coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth that, in return for the Prime Minister assisting Mr. Mozes in advancing economic interests of Yedioth Ahronoth by an initiative to block the strengthening of Israel Hayom,” the police statement said. Both Netanyahu and Mozes have said these were not serious discussions; rather, they each claim they were trying to expose the other’s lack of trustworthiness. Police say there is enough evidence to indict Mozes on charges of offering bribes. In a statement to Israeli media, the lawyer for Mozes said, “The cases against him will be closed.” Netanyahu has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, insisting that investigators will find he did nothing wrong. Attorney general Police will now pass the evidence to the attorney general, who will make a decision on whether or not to indict the Prime Minister. That decision is not expected imminently. By Israeli law, he is only required to step down if he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process to the High Court, a process that could take years. However, he could face public and political pressure to step down much earlier. His coalition partners, so far, have backed him, saying they will not take down the government over a police conclusion. Earlier this week, Education Minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, said, “I wish from the depths of my heart that the PM will come out clean and will continue leading the State of Israel. An indictment sheet seems far away, and certainly one does not go for elections over [police] recommendations.” Echoing his position, Finance Minister and head of the center-right Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon said, “Let the [police] recommendations be published. We will not avoid a decision, but I’m telling you right now, by law, the law says until the stage of the attorney general, there is no need to deal with it at all.” Both parties have enough seats in Netanyahu’s 66-seat coalition to take down the government and force new elections. In an effort to deflect blame, Netanyahu has lashed out, attacking the police, the media, the opposition and the left in rallies and on social media. He has often called the investigations against him “fake news,” echoing the language of President Donald Trump. Last week, Israeli Police Chief Roni Alsheich, in an interview with Israel’s Keshet news channel, said “powerful elements” were “sniffing” around investigators working on the Netanyahu cases. Firing back, Netanyahu said he was “shocked by the insinuations” that he had sent private detectives to tail police, arguing that it casts doubt over the impartiality of the investigations. In a strike against the police chief after the interview, Likud MK Yoav Kisch, a hardline supporter of Netanyahu from within the Prime Minister’s party, summoned Alsheich to a meeting of the Interior Committee at the Knesset for Wednesday morning. CNN’s Oren Liebermann reported from Jerusalem. James Masters wrote from London. Amir Tal in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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Benjamin Netanyahu defends ‘Iran lied’ presentation – CNN

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July 15, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu – Forbes

Stats Age68 ResidenceJerusalem, Israel CitizenshipIsrael Marital StatusMarried Children3 EducationBachelor of Arts/Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Netanyahu, served for five years in Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces and was injured during an operation. Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi (short for his first name), has a Bachelor in architecture and a Masters in Business, both from MIT. I think that a strong Israel is the only Israel that will bring the Arabs to the peace table.

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July 11, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu | Topic Article – Business Standard …

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June 26, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Opinion | Benjamin Netanyahus Nuclear Nothingburger – The …

On Monday morning, Middle East watchers awoke to astonishing news from Israel. A headline in The Jerusalem Post read, Netanyahu to Address Country with Dramatic News About Iran. As the day passed, details remained sparse, but it became clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to unveil secret evidence of Iranian cheating on the nuclear deal. The timing of the announcement, right after the new American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, met with Mr. Netanyahu, accentuated its gravity. Monday afternoon, just a bit behind schedule, Mr. Netanyahu took to the stage next to an enormous screen. The headlines had suggested he would be in his office at a desk or podium to share news of existential importance. Instead, he presented a minor-league TED Talk and in English, no less. Outside the elite, fewer and fewer people in Israel speak English, so the notion of a countrys leader supposedly addressing his compatriots in a foreign language on a matter of national security added to the weirdness of the performance. The substance of Mr. Netanyahus allegedly shattering revelation was correspondingly strange. Of greatest interest was the disclosure of a covert operation that spirited Irans nuclear archives out of the country for analysis in Israel. These records, according to Mr. Netanyahu, consisted of 55,000 pages and 183 CDs an enormous load which nicely demonstrated what can happen when a resourceful and audacious intelligence community in one country meets staggering carelessness and incompetence in another. The archive had been stored in what Mr. Netanyahu described as a derelict warehouse in Tehran. The photos he displayed indicated that there did not even appear to be a lock on the door. One wonders how important the Iranians thought these documents were, given the slapdash approach they took to storing them. In any case, the Mossad operation that netted this haul apparently took place in January and President Trump was briefed on it shortly afterward. It quickly became obvious in Mr. Netanyahus presentation, however, that these materials were already widely known and that they covered a weapons program that was shut down in 2003, perhaps because Irans leaders reckoned that they were next on the American hit list after Saddam Hussein was toppled, and did not want to get caught with their hand in the nuclear cookie jar. Or perhaps, with Iraq disarmed by the United States, it no longer needed the program. But this development has been explored exhaustively already in a 2007 United States National Intelligence Estimate that began with this conclusion: We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. The Iranian archive that Mr. Netanyahu revealed did show clearly that even though the program had been halted, Iran looked forward to restarting it in the future. This is scarcely surprising. After the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when Irans cities were bombarded by Iraqi missiles and its troops attacked with chemical weapons, Iranian leaders probably figured that having a nuclear capacity was a good idea. It probably looked even better when they saw the ease with which the United States defeated Hussein, who possessed one of the regions largest militaries, twice in 12 years. When the Iranians finally resumed their program, presumably feeling more confident as the George W. Bush administrations effort to domesticate Iraq ran aground, they went at it with gusto. From 2006 to 2013 they installed 20,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at various locations, including an underground complex called Fordow dug secretly into the base of a mountain and intended to be bombproof. Given that Israel had destroyed Iraqs nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syrias in 2007 in air raids, both the choice of location and secrecy surrounding it would have made sense from an Iranian perspective. This too is old news. It is also widely understood, not least by the American government, that Iran having made the decision in 2015 to put off its nuclear program for 10 years for a shot at economic development is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. And if it is in compliance, then however much its leaders might lust in their hearts for nuclear weapons, the fact remains that they are not making them. So why did Mr. Netanyahu do his dog and pony show? Because the United States has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal, claiming it was a political agreement whose validity expired along with the Obama administration that negotiated it. The diplomatic novelty of this approach is matched only by a related Trump doctrine that Iran is in violation of the spirit of the agreement, even if it is abiding by the letter of the law. A withdrawal decision, one way or another, is to be announced on May 12. Since the members of Congress will have a say on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran, Mr. Netanyahus pitch must surely have been directed to them. Americans might distrust the C.I.A. and wince when recalling its verdict that Husseins nuclear, chemical and biological capacity was a slam dunk, but even Democrats might be seduced by Mossads reputation and susceptible to Mr. Netanyahus mishmash of stale reporting, truisms and outright hucksterism, especially given the credibility the current Israeli government enjoys in key constituencies. In 2015, Mr. Netanyahu deployed this stratagem before a joint session of Congress; this time, he deployed it from an auditorium in Israels Ministry of Defense. That the Trump administration has evidently colluded with Israel to influence Americans understanding of a major strategic issue fits an established, dispiriting pattern. If the president can convince us that the Iran nuclear deal damages our national interest, which encompasses the security of our allies, very well. But if he cant, then Id prefer not to hear it from a foreign leader. Steven Simon, author of the forthcoming book The Long Goodbye: The U.S. and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring, was the National Security Councils senior director for the Middle East and North Africa from 2011 to 2012. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

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May 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu | Biography & Facts | Britannica.com

Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin also spelled Binyamin, byname Bibi, (born October 21, 1949, Tel Aviv [now Tel AvivYafo], Israel), Israeli politician and diplomat, who twice served as his countrys prime minister (199699 and 2009 ). In 1963 Netanyahu, the son of the historian Benzion Netanyahu, moved with his family to Philadelphia in the United States. After enlisting in the Israeli military in 1967, he became a soldier in the elite special operations unit Sayeret Matkal and was on the team that rescued a hijacked jet plane at the Tel Aviv airport in 1972. He later studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.B.A., 1976), taking time out to fight in the Yom Kippur War in Israel in 1973. After his brother Jonathan died while leading the successful Entebbe raid in 1976, Benjamin founded the Jonathan Institute, which sponsored conferences on terrorism. Netanyahu held several ambassadorship positions before being elected to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) as a Likud member in 1988. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs (198891) and then as a deputy minister in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabins coalition cabinet (199192). In 1993 he easily won election as the leader of the Likud party, succeeding Yitzhak Shamir in that post. Netanyahu became noted for his opposition to the 1993 Israel-PLO peace accords and the resulting Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The governing Labour Party entered the 1996 elections with weakened electoral appeal following Rabins assassination in November 1995 and a series of suicide bombings by Muslim militants early in 1996. Netanyahu eked out a victory margin of about 1 percent over Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the elections of May 29, 1996, the first in which the prime minister was directly elected. Netanyahu became the youngest person ever to serve as Israels prime minister when he formed a government on June 18. Unrest dominated Netanyahus first prime ministership. Soon after he entered office, relations with Syria deteriorated, and his decision in September 1996 to open an ancient tunnel near Al-Aqsa Mosque angered Palestinians and sparked intense fighting. Netanyahu then reversed his earlier opposition to the 1993 peace accords and in 1997 agreed to withdraw troops from most of the West Bank town of Hebron. Pressure from within his coalition, however, led Netanyahu to announce his intention to establish a new Jewish settlement on land claimed by the Palestinians. He also significantly lowered the amount of land that would be handed over to the Palestinians during Israels next phase of withdrawal from the West Bank. Violent protests, including a series of bombings, ensued. In 1998 Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat participated in peace talks that resulted in the Wye Memorandum, the terms of which included placing as much as 40 percent of the West Bank under Palestinian control. The agreement was opposed by right-wing groups in Israel, and several factions in Netanyahus government coalition quit. In 1998 the Knesset dissolved the government, and new elections were scheduled for May 1999. Netanyahus reelection campaign was hindered by a fragmented right wing as well as by voters growing dislike of his inconsistent peace policies and his often abrasive style. In addition, a series of scandals had plagued his administration, including his appointment in 1997 of Roni Bar-On, a Likud party functionary, as attorney general. Allegations that Bar-On would arrange a plea bargain for a Netanyahu ally who had been charged with fraud and bribery led to a series of confidence votes in the Knesset. With his core political support undermined, Netanyahu was easily defeated by Ehud Barak, leader of the Labour Party, in the 1999 elections. Netanyahu was succeeded as head of Likud in 1999 by Ariel Sharon but remained a popular figure in the party. When early elections were called in 2001, Netanyahu, who had resigned his seat in the Knesset and thus was ineligible to run for prime minister, unsuccessfully challenged Sharon for leadership of the party. In Sharons government, Netanyahu served as foreign minister (200203) and finance minister (200305). In 2005 Sharon left Likud and formed a centrist party, Kadima. Netanyahu was subsequently elected leader of Likud and was the partys unsuccessful prime ministerial candidate for the 2006 Knesset elections in which Likud secured only 12 seats to Kadimas 29. The election of February 2009 saw sizable Likud gains as Netanyahu led the party to 27 Knesset seats, finishing a single seat behind Kadima, led by Tzipi Livni. Because of the close and inconclusive nature of the results, however, it was not immediately clear which partys leader would be invited to form a coalition government. Through the course of coalition discussions in the days that followed, Netanyahu gathered the support of Yisrael Beiteinu (15 seats), Shas (11 seats), and a number of smaller parties, and he was asked by Israels president to form the government, which was sworn in on March 31, 2009. In June 2009 Netanyahu for the first time expressed qualified support for the principle of an independent Palestinian state, with the conditions that any future Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized and would have to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Those conditions were quickly rejected by Palestinian leaders. A brief round of negotiations in 2010 broke down when a 10-month partial moratorium on building settlements in the West Bank expired and Israel refused to extend it. The peace process remained at a standstill for the rest of Netanyahus term. Netanyahu also took a hard line in foreign affairs, lobbying for the international community to take stronger action against Irans alleged nuclear weapons program, which he described as the greatest threat to Israeli security and world peace. He also expressed pessimistic views regarding a series of popular uprisings and revolutions in the Arab world in 2011 that were collectively referred to as the Arab Spring, predicting that new Arab leaders would be more hostile to Israel than their predecessors. Domestically, Netanyahu also faced growing economic discontent among the middle class and the young. In the summer of 2011 large street protests spread throughout Israel decrying social and economic inequality and calling on the government to increase its support for transportation, education, child care, housing, and other public services. Elections in January 2013 returned Netanyahu to the post of prime minister, but at the head of a coalition that appeared closer to the political centre than his previous one. A reinvigorated centre-left had emerged, led by Yesh Atid, a newly formed party that had campaigned on middle-class socioeconomic concerns. Meanwhile, a combined list presented by Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu had won the largest number of Knesset seats in 2013 but fell short of expectations. After weeks of negotiations, Netanyahu was able to forge an agreement between the LikudYisrael Beitneinu bloc, Yesh Atid, Livnis Hatnua party, and several smaller parties. In July 2014 Netanyahu ordered a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire into Israel. At the end of the 50-day campaign, Netanyahu stated that the objective of significantly damaging militants capability to fire rockets had been achieved. Internationally, however, the operation was criticized for the high number of Palestinian casualties. By late 2014 serious disagreements had emerged within the governing coalition over budget issues and a controversial bill that would have defined Israel as a Jewish state. In December Netanyahu dismissed Livni and Lapid from the cabinet, triggering early elections set for March 2015. New tension was injected into the relationship between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obamaalready strained by disagreements over negotiations with the Palestiniansin 2014, when Netanyahu emerged as a vocal critic of the Obama administrations Iran policy, which sought to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through international negotiations. Netanyahu charged that any compromise would ultimately leave Iran with the option of developing nuclear weapons and that sanctions against Iran should be maintained instead. In January 2015, with Israels elections approaching, Netanyahu accepted an invitation to address the U.S. Congress regarding Iran, which he did on March 3. The invitation was the source of considerable controversy because it had been issued by the speaker of the House of Representatives without notifying the White Housea departure from protocol for visiting heads of stateand because Netanyahu was widely expected to voice criticism of the Obama administration. Critics in Israel and the United States charged that, by openly aligning himself with the partisan opponents of a sitting president, Netanyahu was putting the United States bipartisan support for Israel at risk. As the March 17 election grew closer, analysts predicted that it would be a very close race between Netanyahus Likud party and the Zionist Union, a centre-left alliance comprising the Labour Party and Hatnua. When results were released, it became clear that Netanyahu and Likud had won the most Knesset seats30, followed by the Zionist Union, with 24in a surprisingly decisive victory. Netanyahus fourth term took place in the shadow of several ongoing investigations into bribery and other forms of corruption by Netanyahu and members of his inner circle. In February 2018 Israeli police announced that they had found sufficient evidence to charge Netanyahu with bribery and fraud in two cases. In the first case, Netanyahu had allegedly traded political favours for gifts, including expensive cigars, champagne, and jewelry. In the second, he had allegedly sought to secure favourable coverage from the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in exchange for cutting the circulation of a rival paper, Israel Hayom. In a televised address, Netanyahu denied the allegations and vowed not to step down as prime minister.

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April 16, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mild viral …

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April 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu Is Questioned in 3rd Corruption Case in …

Inside the Balfour Street residence, Mr. Netanyahu was questioned for hours under caution as a possible suspect, according to the police. His wife, Sara, was questioned simultaneously as a suspect in the same case at the fraud investigation units headquarters in Lod, central Israel. The latest twist in a spiraling corruption scandal comes on the eve of Mr. Netanyahus departure for Washington, where he is scheduled to meet President Trump and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committees annual policy conference. Mr. Netanyahu has made a point of maintaining a high-profile presence on the world stage, traveling in recent weeks to India, where he was treated like royalty; to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and to an international security conference in Munich. Denying all wrongdoing, Mr. Netanyahu has been trying to project a business-as-usual approach despite his mounting legal troubles, aiming to burnish his credentials both at home and abroad as an international player. In a short video posted on Facebook after he was questioned, Mr. Netanyahu said he was about to embark on a very important visit to the United States and added, in reference to the police investigations, I feel confident that nothing will come of it. The questioning of the prime minister, who also served as communications minister from 2014 to 2017, in this latest case was expected. Several members of his close circle have been arrested in the case, including Nir Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahus, and Shlomo Filber, a political operative for Mr. Netanyahus conservative Likud Party and Mr. Netanyahus pick as director general of the Communications Ministry. Mr. Filber, a long-serving Netanyahu aide, has turned state witness. The case involves a dicey mix of political power, big business and personal relationships. Mr. Netanyahu is a friend of Mr. Elovitch, who owns the Eurocom Group holding company, which owns Bezeq, the Israeli telecommunications giant that has long had a near-monopoly on land lines in the country. Bezek owns Walla, the Israeli news site that has provided lopsidedly flattering coverage of the Netanyahus for months or years. Sara Netanyahu, a friend of Mr. Elovitchs wife, Iris, is reported to have sent messages to her with demands to tilt the coverage in her husbands favor. Mrs. Elovitch has already been arrested in the affair and spent several days in detention. Mrs. Netanyahu is facing possible fraud charges in a separate case in which she is accused of misusing about $100,000 in public funds in her management of the prime ministers official residence. Among other things, the Communications Ministry is said to have pushed regulators to allow the merger of a money-losing satellite network, Yes, also owned by Mr. Elovitch, with Bezeq, a deal that would have reaped huge tax savings for Mr. Elovitch. At a hearing for two of the suspects in the case in a Tel Aviv court this week, Yehudit Tirosh, a prosecution lawyer, pointed a finger at Mr. Netanyahu in his role as communications minister. This is a grave case of giving and receiving bribes, Ms. Tirosh was quoted as saying by the Israeli news media. The term positive coverage is misleading. This is harnessing a leading website in return for regulatory favors by the minister of communications and the director general of the Ministry of Communications. The value of the regulatory benefits was about $500 million, she said. Mr. Netanyahu responded in another Facebook post this week, saying, All actions were carried out in a professional manner based on the recommendations of the professional echelon, professional committees and legal counsel. Jack Chen, a lawyer representing Mr. Elovitch, said in an interview on Friday that the allegations were baseless, and that his client categorically denied that there was ever any such deal. Mr. Netanyahu, who has been accused of accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts over 10 years, has found himself and his close associates accused on a variety of fronts: Case 1000, the gifts-for-favors affair in which the police last month recommended that Mr. Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Case 2000, in which Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, to ensure more favorable coverage. The police have also recommended charges in that case. Case 3000, which involves suspicions of corruption surrounding a multibillion-dollar purchase of submarines and other naval vessels from a German shipyard. Mr. Netanyahu is not a suspect in that case, though some of his closest confidants are. Case 4000, which was the subject of the police questioning on Friday. The Walla news site has changed its tune in recent months, offering some considerably less fawning coverage of the Netanyahus. In January, it published an earsplitting recorded telephone conversation from 2009 in which Mrs. Netanyahu could be heard berating a publicist over a short gossip column item about her participation in a school fund-raising event that did not cite her educational and professional credentials to her satisfaction.

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March 5, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed


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