Written by Nanki Vacher, a grade 6 student.
Born on the 21st October 1949 Benjamin Netanyahu is an Israeli politician and diplomat, who has served twice as his country’s Prime Minister. He has been the longest-serving Prime Minister since Israel’s independence.
Netanyahu held several ambassadorship positions before being elected to the Israeli parliament as a member in 1988. He served as deputy minister of foreign affairs (1988–91) and then as a deputy minister in Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s coalition cabinet (1991–92). Netanyahu became the youngest person ever to serve as Israel’s prime minister when he formed a government on June 18, 1996.
Unrest dominated Netanyahu’s first prime ministership. Soon after he entered office, relations with Syria deteriorated, and his decision in September 1996 to open an ancient tunnel near Al-Aqsa Mosque angered Palestinians and sparked intense fighting.
The election of February 2009 saw sizable Likud gains as Netanyahu led the party to 27 seats. Netanyahu gathered the support of Yisrael Beiteinu (15 seats), Shas (11 seats), and a number of smaller parties, and he was asked by Israel’s president to form the government.
Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting a lot of bribes. He has been accused of accepting expensive gifts such as big cartons of cigars and champagne, from wealthy friends, and offering favors to media moguls in exchange for news coverage of him and his family. In the most serious case, he has been accused of bending the laws to benefit the few and rich. Netanyahu has denied the charges claiming he is the victim of an “attempted coup” by overaggressive police, biased prosecutors and hostile media.
So….what happens next?
Well nobody in Israel is quite sure. According to Israel’s basic law, Benjamin Netanyahu can stay on as Prime Minister. So far, Netanyahu’s Likud party has pledged to stand by him. His party is supporting him despite the corruption charges and him not being able to gather support to form a ruling government after the past two elections.
This is why Benjamin Netanyahu is facing charges.