What you need to know about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister

Benjamin Netanyahu, 55, the leader of Israel’s conservative Likud party and the country’s longest-serving prime minister, speaks English and French. Here’s what you need to know about him. On Wednesday, he hailed Marjory Stoneman…

What you need to know about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister

Benjamin Netanyahu, 55, the leader of Israel’s conservative Likud party and the country’s longest-serving prime minister, speaks English and French. Here’s what you need to know about him.

On Wednesday, he hailed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s students for helping to form the #NeverAgain movement, which opposes gun control measures.

He has been criticized for his child protection record in several instances: in 1997, he reportedly allowed a school bus driver to leave her children in harm’s way, while in 2003, he reportedly visited a child who later jumped to his death. In 2016, Israeli media reported that he sometimes blocks cabinet meetings from other cabinet members who do not support him, and his wife, Sara, struggles with a rare blood disease.

Early in his career, Netanyahu ran for president under the banner of the right-wing Jobbik party, which was led by the infamous and offensive Hungarian far-right leader, Márton György. During a meeting in 1996, Netanyahu told György that “You are the first government minister to ever kiss me on the mouth,” which may have been one of his first-ever kisses.

At the time, Netanyahu told political opponent, Shlomo Benizri: “You always thought only of political success, political achievement, and making some enemies, and I think that nowadays you see that I have won here, and I am winning in the court of public opinion.”

Netanyahu proposed to join the Likud party in 2007. However, in his parliamentary debut, he was denied standing for prime minister. In 2009, he made his second attempt and won. He served as Israel’s leader for nine years, before changing the party’s name to Likud Beitenu, which is still in power. He also served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, energy minister, finance minister, and foreign minister.

Netanyahu made history last year by becoming the first Israeli leader to declare a nuclear weapon on Earth. However, in March, a U.N. report found he did not support a policy of “pre-emptive” nuclear weapons. His son Yair, for his part, called for a new system of nuclear deterrence, including the production of nuclear “superpliers.”

Netanyahu became Likud’s leader in 1996 after serving as education minister. The next year, the Netanyahu family’s 24-year-old son Gilad was murdered. In response, the family announced the creation of Yair’s trust, which collects funds for bereaved families.

Netanyahu came under criticism during his first term in office for raising religious tensions in the state, backing the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim and threatening to “remove” a Jewish woman who held up a poster in her home reading “Abortion Kills.”

After his 2014 reelection, he was embroiled in the bribery investigation that led to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s conviction. He went on to serve four months in a penitentiary.

As prime minister, Netanyahu forged a groundbreaking deal with Palestinians to create a security zone on the West Bank. An international fund was created in 2010 to create such a zone. He also signed a peace agreement with the Palestinians that in 2015 involved the establishment of a “Palestinian state that includes the Gaza Strip and recognized pre-1967 borders.” He also extended peace talks with the Palestinians, meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on several occasions.

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