Israel’s attorney general on Thursday announced he will indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, local media reported. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said he planned to charge Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. All charges are subject to a hearing, which will likely take place after a snap election to be held in April.
Benjamin Netanyahu wants to make peace — with Barack Obama. The Israeli prime minister met with the U.S. president on Monday for the first time in more than a year and following their heated dispute over the Iran nuclear deal, and Netanyahu used his public remarks ahead of the meeting to repeatedly thank Obama for supporting Israel, especially at a time of rising Middle East violence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked a Holocaust controversy on Wednesday, hours before a visit to Germany, by saying that the Muslim elder in Jerusalem during the 1940s convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews. In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Netanyahu referred to a series of Muslim attacks on Jews in Palestine during the 1920s that he said were instigated by the then-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week finally clinched a deal to form a new coalition government after his Likud party won elections last month. It was a dramatic final week of coalition negotiations. First, Avigdor Lieberman, formerly a close ally of Netanyahu, stunned political observers by announcing that his secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party would not join the coalition. As the clock ticked down to the deadline at midnight Wednesday, Netanyahu forged alliances with the nationalist Jewish Home party, the centrist Kulanu party, and several ultra-Orthodox parties. He pulled off another term in power, but his coalition has the narrowest of parliamentary majorities -- just one vote.
Wednesday afternoon was the deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put together his next coalition if he wanted to continue being the prime minister. He managed it, but just barely — putting together a majority by exactly one vote. His new government is shaping up to be one of Israel's weakest in some time. Netanyahu's coalition will only survive on the whims of smaller parties. That makes it really unstable — and tells you a lot about the current state of Israeli politics.
A day before his surprise election victory last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood against the backdrop of a construction site in Har Homa, a towering settlement in the occupied West Bank, and pledged to go on building. The next week, however, his office ordered local authorities to put the brakes on plans to erect hundreds of new homes at Har Homa, a settlement Netanyahu authorized in 1997 during his first term in the face of fierce international opposition. It was an example of the tightrope Netanyahu walks between his political allegiances and the international community, whose faith in his commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians - including a halt to settlement-building - is wearing thin.
Early in the afternoon of Monday, February 23–the day following the anniversary of George Washington’s birth—North Dakota Republican John Hoeven rose from his seat, walked to the podium of the U.S. Senate, and began to read George Washington’s “Farewell Address.” In his seminal good-bye to the nation, the first president condemned the rise of political parties because they “distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration,” and warned against “a passionate attachment of one Nation for another,” which “produces a variety of evils.”
The Wall Street Journal's Adam Entous dropped a huge story Tuesday morning: Israel acquired classified US information while spying on the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and leaked the stolen information about the emerging deal to American lawmakers in an attempt to sabotage the Obama administration's outreach to Tehran. This is yet another disaster for US-Israel relations. But that's not because Israel acquired classified US information, which honestly isn't that surprising. What's really outrageous is that Israel used the information in a deliberate attempt to manipulate American politics.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led his right-wing Likud Party to a surprising victory in last week's election, in part by denouncing his prior support for a Palestinian state and warning ominously of "Arab voters," it was to many Americans a wake-up call. Not just that Israel's leader is increasingly overt in his hostility to peace with the Palestinians (and to the Obama administration, for that matter), but that Israeli politics are trending more broadly in a scary direction. To understand those trends, and where they point for Israel's future, I spoke to Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst for the International Crisis Group and a respected voice on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
When the astounding results of Israel’s general elections began trickling in on Tuesday night, I was seated in Israel Public Television’s new white-and-blue studio. The sense of shock that pervaded the freshly decorated stage was palpable. Suddenly my iPhone lit up with a new WhatsApp text. It was from the daughter of a dear friend, a university student, informing me that she intended to renew her European passport. This country has no future, she wrote. If I want to lead a normal life, I have to leave.
President Barack Obama told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Washington would "reassess" its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after the Israeli prime minister took a position against Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign, a White House official said. Obama’s telephone call to Netanyahu followed a television interview in which the Israeli leader backed away from his pre-election declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, an about-face apparently aimed at quelling U.S. criticism triggered by his comments.
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive reelection, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure. Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform toward the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel. And despite signals from Israel suggesting that Netanyahu might walk back his rejection, late in the campaign, of a Palestinian state under his watch, Obama officials say they are taking him at his word.
There's no sugarcoating this: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stunning victory in Tuesday's Israeli election is an utter disaster for Israel's peace camp and, by extension, the Palestinians. The right-wing prime minister won on the back of an ultra-hawkish, at times nakedly racist campaign. He openly declared there would be no Palestinian state on his watch if re-elected. He warned of Arab voters "streaming in huge quantities to the polling stations," which is a lot like an American politician warning about too many black voters turning out. What does it say about Israel, and the conflict, that his campaign worked? The answer is clear.
The White House on Wednesday scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his re-election victory for abandoning his commitment to negotiate for a Palestinian state and for what it called "divisive" campaign rhetoric toward Israel’s minority Arab voters. Even as U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration congratulated Netanyahu for his party’s decisive win in Tuesday’s ballot, the White House signaled its deep disagreements – and thorny relationship - with Netanyahu will persist on issues ranging from Middle East peacemaking to Iran nuclear diplomacy.
It's the final week of campaigning before Israel's March 17 election — and no one knows for sure how it's going to turn out. Israeli polls can be unreliable, and in the Israeli system, getting the most votes doesn't guarantee that your party's leader gets to lead the new government. So far, though, polls show a very tight race between incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-leaning Likud Party and the lead opposition faction, the center-left Zionist Union made up of Isaac Herzog's Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's much smaller Hatnua. The big issues in the election are, of course, security — on which Netanyahu has centered much of his campaign, in large part by emphasizing his opposition to Iran — and the economy, on which the left seems to have more of an advantage.
Years ago, when I was just starting in this business, I had the privilege to meet a well-known muckraker and columnist. I asked him the secret of his success. "Two things," he said. "One: when you're hammered after a night out, drink an entire liter of water before you go to bed. An entire liter, do you understand? Otherwise the whole next work day is shot." "An entire liter," I said. "Got it." "Second, never write about Israel. It just pisses people off. No matter what you say, you lose half your Rolodex."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did President Obama an enormous favor Tuesday. Given the opportunity, on perhaps the world’s biggest political stage, to articulate the best possible case against the nuclear deal currently being negotiated with Iran, Netanyahu came up empty. He whiffed. His shot sailed so wide of the rim that it went up into the bleachers and struck a small child in the face. Given how much buildup the speech received—and how much of America’s time has been wasted with the controversy surrounding it—it’s simply amazing that Netanyahu didn’t use the chance to offer any new or interesting ideas, any viable path to achieving the prevention of an Iranian nuclear weapon—which he insists is a shared goal with the United States—other than the one we are on now.
Israel’s prime minister is in Washington to build American support, bolster his re-election campaign, and (clandestinely) push for war on Iran. He should be careful what he wishes for. So Bibi Netanyahu did not back down, and he’s here now in the United States, and he’s giving the speech Tuesday. In doing so, he has forced a true low point in U.S.-Israel relations. As has been often observed, he’s turning Israel into a partisan issue—up to somewhere around a quarter of congressional Democrats are refusing to attend the speech. That’s a crack, a big one. If he remains prime minister after the March 17 elections, the fissures between Netanyahu’s government and Barack Obama and the Democrats will only widen. Congressional support for Israel is due for a reconsideration.
World leaders have long racked up points at home for being antagonistic toward the United States. Hugo Chavez called Barack Obama “a clown” and “an embarrassment.” Vladimir Putin routinely riles against American hypocrisy. Evo Morales has blasted “North American imperialism.” Their approval ratings soared. In Israel, however, this was never the case. Historically, Israel’s bond with the U.S. has always been its most valued strategic asset. Even as relations between the countries’ leaders frayed in recent years, Israelis have been steadfast in their belief that America has their back. Asked this past December about the importance of the country’s relations with the U.S., 96 percent of Israelis deemed it extremely important.
U.S. officials on Wednesday questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judgment and said his outspoken condemnation of efforts to secure an Iranian nuclear deal had injected destructive partisanship into U.S.-Israeli relations. In an escalation of hostile exchanges between the allies six days before Netanyahu gives a speech to Congress on the threat from Iran, the Israeli leader accused world powers of abandoning a pledge to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb.