With almost all of the votes counted, Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to again take the reigns as the Prime Minister of Israel, after his main opponent Yair Lapid called and conceded to him today. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition led by his Likud party is set to win 64 out of 120 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, while Lapid’s will likely retain 51. This will be the sixth term as Prime Minister for the Israeli political titan, known as “Bibi,” who is no stranger to controversy. Here are four interesting facts about Benjamin Netanyahu.
He’s the most prolific leader in Israel’s history
Netanyahu’s name has been synonymous with Israeli politics for a few generations. He now has the distinction of being the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel, having won five elections and taking the head of state role six times, the most in Israel’s history. He’s also held a number of other titles in Israeli government, including being the Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance and Chairman of his Likud party.
Netanyahu spent many years in the United States
When Bibi speaks in English, you may notice it’s nearly perfect and with an American accent. This can be attributed to him spending many of his younger years in America. Born in 1949 and initially raised in Jerusalem, his family later moved to a suburb of Philadelphia while his father taught at Dropsie College for about eight of his formative years. Bibi graduated from high school in the states before returning to Israel to have a storied career fighting for the Israeli Defense Forces. He returned to the U.S. in 1972 where he completed a BA in Architecture and MBA, both at MIT. He began a PhD at Harvard but dropped out and returned to Israel upon the death of his brother.
Netanyahu has been married three times, has three children and three grandkids
His first marriage was Miriam Weizmann, whom he met during his military service. She joined him when he returned to the U.S. in 1972 and they married, having a daughter, Noa in 1978. While in America, Bibi began an affair with Fleur Cates, a British student, resulting in the divorce of Miriam. Netanyahu subsequently married Cates, and that marriage ended in divorce in 1984. Bibi met his third wife, Sara Ben-Artzi, who at the time was a flight attendant for El Al. They married in 1991 and had two children, sons Yair and Avner. During his time in public life, Bibi admitted to an affair and was suspected of others. And he’s a grandfather three times: his daughter Noa has had three kids with husband David Roth.
He is currently facing corruption charges
Bibi has been facing a corruption investigation since 2016, resulting in his being charged in 2019 in three cases with breach of trust, bribery and fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years of jail time. Bibi denies the accusations, claiming it is a politically motivated witch hunt. CNN reports that in this election, Netenyahu’s allies have ran on a platform of judicial reform, which could allow the Knesset to overrule court decisions, which CNN claims “could serve as an escape hatch from his ongoing criminal trials.” Netanyahu has said such reforms, if they become law, wouldn’t retroactively apply to him, but his critics are skeptical.
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