Seth J. Frantzman
Security, Middle East
Instinctually pragmatic, conservative and cynical, Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently asserted that any peace in the Middle East must be based on security for Israel.
Netanyahu is Israel's Master Incrementalist
Not since Abraham Lincoln defeated George McClellan has a democratically elected leader been faced with an election campaign against one of his own recent chiefs of staff—and won. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu defeated not only a party led by former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, but also the two other former IDF chiefs of staff Gantz was running with. In April 9 elections Netanyahu vanquished them all, expanding the size of his Likud party in Israel’s Knesset from thirty to thirty-six seats, virtually ensuring that he will form Israel’s next government. He has now been in power ten years and this will be the fifth government he has led.
Netanyahu’s ability to achieve such longevity in Israel’s politics is due to his reading of the shifts taking place in Israeli society and also the constant pattern of opponents underestimating his qualities. By holding on to power, Netanyahu will also cement his legacy of incrementalism when it comes to Israeli foreign policy and the conflict with the Palestinians. Instinctually pragmatic, conservative and cynical, Netanyahu has consistently asserted that any peace in the Middle East must be based on security for Israel.