Haifa: Benjamin Netanyahu is already Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He may be replaced sooner rather than later, after the shock of 7 October.
He could be the country’s second most prominent leader when he is consigned to the history books. Netanyahu will not surpass David Ben-Gurion, who led the declaration of statehood, established its institutions, oversaw the expulsion of Palestinians, and reached a ceasefire agreement with Arab countries, turning the idea of a Jewish state into a political reality.
That changed the course of Middle Eastern history. Now, Netanyahu has brought Israel to a new and very different juncture, as we shall see. And it could amount to another definitive turning point in the region’s turbulent history.
The current prime minister’s new level of notoriety comes after a long career. He had a relatively unsuccessful stint in the job from 1996 to 1999 and then briefly disappeared from the political scene.
But Netanyahu returned after a few years as a minister in Ariel Sharon's government and as leader of the opposition. He reclaimed the premiership in 2009 and has held onto it since, except for a brief period in 2021-22 when Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid served as prime ministers.