Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM, 70

accused of meddling with an Israeli telecom company merger

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in his office in Jerusalem on July 14, 2015, after world powers reached a historic nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu said after the deal was reached that Israel was not bound by it and signalled he remained ready to order military action. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEXTHOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images
When I looked at a list of all of the people turning 70 in 2019, I had decided NOT to write about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.

Then, in February 2019, he was indicted on one case of bribery and two cases of fraud and breach of trust. This involves allegedly planning to help a newspaper disadvantage its competition to get good press in return. Also, he is accused of meddling with an Israeli telecom company merger in exchange for positive coverage on its news site. The prime minister, in the midst of a tough election contest, denied any wrongdoing.

The guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue started insinuating himself into the Israeli electoral process. This is possibly beyond what his base was looking for.

In the election of April 9, Bibi seemed set to win a fifth term after vowing to annex the West Bank, part of a so-called American peace plan.

The huge problem is that millions of Palestinians live in the area captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. The Palestinians want to make it part of their future state. This campaign promise is sure to raise tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The right-wing Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t win enough seats to govern. He attempted to form a coalition government, but it failed. By late May, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) voted to dissolve itself and redo the election.

Try, try again

Ahead of Israeli’s do-over election in September, the Prime Minister faced opposition from the left and the right.

President Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with forming a government when unity talks With Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan reached a stalemate.

There COULD be a third round of voting if this doesn’t work out, and as of this writing, here’s no real government. What are Netanyahu’s recent liabilities? They may be:

-criminal allegations, and the sense that a win could get him immunity.
-the American’s apparently-canceled wish to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as the Israeli prime minister insisted that Iran was developing its nuclear program

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Israeli officials “played” his ex-boss. He warned that a “healthy amount of skepticism” is needed in dealings with Israel’s prime minister.

“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,’” Tillerson said, according to the Harvard Gazette. “We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.'”

Benjamin Netanyahu turns 70.

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