Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel and the longest serving Prime Minister is facing a tough re-election bid. The four-time PM was under the scanner for failing to create a government after the April elections held earlier this year. The elections are due on September 17th.
Netanyahu, is the first Prime Minister to be born in the land of Israel since the country was formed. He also served in the elite commando unit as a Captain and fought in the 1973 Israel-Arab War.
Coming into politics in the when he served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1984, Netanyahu soon started to rise into the limelight. The fluent english and his unique debate style had managed to win him great support.
Later, he joining the right-wing Linkud party just before the 1988 elections. He became the fifth most prominent member of the party. His first cabinet stint was as a Deputy Foreign Minister and since then the leder has never seen back. He became the youngest Prime Minister of the country when he won the 1996 elections.
After being out of power in 1999, Netanyahu came back in 2003 under Ariel Sharom as the Finance Minister. He would come back into power as the Prime Minister in 2009. But the April elections of 2019 and the failure to secure a majority has led Netanyahu in a fix. Lets look at the achievements that the Prime Minister has during his fourth term.
Under Netanyahu, Israel has managed to achieve greater international recognition than his predecessors. Ever since he took office, Netanyahu has strategically used his power in building closer alliances with countries which it believed to be critically important.
Netayahu was able to deliver what he promised when he managed to thaw the cold relationship which Israel had with the United States during US President Barack Obama’s tenure. He has had a very well oiled working relationship with President Trump which is clearly evident. The acceptance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been one of his key victories. He has been able to thwart the violance from Palestine who in realiy have not been able to muster any opposition to a various combination of factors.
The move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was the one that reiterated their recgonition of the city being the Israeli capital. He also managed to score another victory when the disputed region of Golan Heights was considered to be a part of Israel by the US.
Another thing about Netanyahu’s approach towards the foreign affairs of the Israel is to ensure that it manages to fulfil its strategic needs. Netanyahu haas been able to keep the Palestine problem at bay by forming key alliancs for the Israel. Given the location of Israel, it is very important that they are able to keep the threat from the Arab world at bay.
It has managed to forge relationships with countries which were one of its threats It has been trying to create a working relationship with the government in Egypt. Since the 2013 Egyptian Coup de Etat, the new government has been keen on normalising the relationship which had been cold under the reign of former Egyptian President Hossaini Mubarak.
The outreach programme to countries like China, Russia, India and other European countries, shows the intent of diversifying the relationship of Israel. With its outeach of normalising relations with these countries would also be able to counter the threat of Iran annd the expanding zone of influence of Iran in Syria and Lebonan. It made headway by successfully engaging with countries in Africa, South America and Europe.
State of Security
Given Israel’s geographic location, it is important for the country to be in a state of preparedness. It has been tested given the palestianian rebellion towards it’s occupation of the West Bank and ensuring a bloackade of the Gaza strip. This has given the Israeli public a breathing space and ensured their protection from terror attacks.
There are constant threats to the settlers who are in the occupied territories controlled by Israel from the Palestinians. After the second intifada, the threat on israelis has been ever present. The Gaza Protests in 2018 has been currently going on poses a threat to the people. Hamas which controls the Gaza strip also has posed a direct threat to Israel and often has launched rockets into Israel. The current security situation is also of grave concern with Hezbollah which is based in Lebonan has posed as a threat.
But despite all these obsticles, the Prime Minister has been able to manage peace with in the society. He has been able to provide security to the people from these threats which have not resulted in heavy casualty. The PM has also ensured that an attack by any of the potential threats would be met with reply. The strategic hits on targets which are vital in Gaza or the pin point attack over the members of Hamas has managed to protect the image of the Prime Minister.
He has maintained the Defence portfolio with himself which has put him in the forefront of every security threat update. He has also found a way to counter Iran which is concieved as a threat by Israel by often sharing intelligence with its partners. The constant scrutiny that the PM has over the activites in Syria has led to Israel laying a major role in the war-torn country. It has done airstrikes on Iranian proxies and infrastructure present in Syria.
As of 2018, Israel has managed to spend about 4.3 per cent of its GDP into the defence sector. Despite many people being critical of the PM’s decision to expand the millitary budget of the government. It cannot be denied that it would create a base for the future of the security. In 2016, Netanyahu was able to secure an agreement with the US to buy its F-35 Lockhead- Martin stealth fighter which is now being introduced in the US military. The agreement was worth 38 billion US dollars. This would be a boost for the country as it gives them the air dominance in the region which would also act as a detterent with potential threats.
Israel has seen a lot of progress under Benjim Natenyahu has shifted the economy to a more liberal economy. This was done during the time when Natenyahau’s tenure as the finance minister during Ariel Sharom’s primership.
Despite the current economic slowdown the Israeli economy managed to come up with a growth of 5.2 per cent in the first quarter as of May 2019. He also had been focusing on creating investment opportunities for countries. Israel had recieved a huge number of investment in it defence sector.
Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in Israel during the first quarter of 2019 was around 45085.80 Million US Dollars. Netanyahu also alowed heavy investments in the ports sector to allow for the country to expand its shipping capacity. The policies of the government has somehow managed to bring down the level of unemployment from 4.08 per cent as reported on June 2019 to 3.67 in July 2019. Netanyahu has also ensured that the growth figures of Israel stay positive. During his primership, the country has signed a number of deals with South Korea and the United Kingdom. The deal with the UK is the first deal to come into effect after Brexit.The deal is a trade continuity deal between the two countries.
With South Korea, Israel has managed to sign a trade deal without the inclusion of the settlement zones of the West Bank. The deal is worth 2.8 billion US Dollars. India has been Israel’s top most importer of defence equipments. In 2019, the Israeli government has managed to secure a deal of 300 crore rupees under which it is going to provide the Indian Air Force with a batch of SPICE 2000 missile.
In 2018, Israel had inked a deal with India worth 777 million US Dollars to supply the navy with Barak 8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) Air and Missile Defence system. Despite the current trade climate, Israel’s economy has been able to main high growth rates and generate more income after taking measures like diluting the overarching public sector and increasing more private sectors in the domestic market.
Around 6.47 billion in the domestic start-up market in 2018. This is the double as compared to the figures of 2013. The country is ranked 22nd as per the Human Development Indicators(HDI) as per 2018.
Israel has been a power when it comes to the technological sector. There is a major reason why the country’s start-ups are being bought by foreign companies. During 2017 alone, the start-ups had managed to raise 5.2 billion US Dollars. From acquisition of Neuroderm, a next gen pharamaceutical company by Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma to Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye, a AI Technology which provides advanced driver assistance. may speak volumes about the technologial environment provided by the government.
It was after Natenyahu’s policy of allowing the progresss of technology that had led to the creation of Israel’s image as a cyber-space playfield for the world. It has seen great rise in investments following the hightenend concern with regards to cyber- security. With the government furthering the investments in the sector has given them breathing space in the sector.
Given the expertise of the Israel Defence Force (IDF), these technological firms often use the knowledge of the military cyber security unit and employ it within the civilian sector. This has what led to the government investing 24 million US Dollars in the tech field and the reason why the country has been ranked 2nd in providing cyber security investments. This also stand testament to the fact that how the goverrnment has been able to use the skilled resources who are able in Israel to build a technological empire in the Middle-east.
This also saw a diversification in the field, which the government has taaken notice of focusing it efforts to train more individuals who are at par with the industry standard set before them. Inventions like the Watergen, which creates water straight out of thin air speaks volumes about the available talent pool. This is currently being used in Porto Rico which was affected by a hurricane.
Galmobile Jeep was also designed and created by GAL water technology which has the capacity to purify upto 20,000 litres of sea water and 80,000 litres of brackish water. Innitiatives and platforms provided by the government has been the reason why Israel has become the start-up capital of the world.
Under Netanyahu, Israel has seen critical developments within the country. He has ensured better infrastructural facilities to be provided to people. The decision to etap the energy resources near he coastal areas of the country has led the country to be in the lsit of energy exporters. The commercial deals which he has signed for the development of the existing facilities have led the country to be at the cusp of advancement for a nation which is marred between conflicts. Particularly, the ailing roadway system which had been congesting the roads in Israel were given a makeover by creating four to eight lane roads.
Clogged between volatile neighbors, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to provide the stability that was much needed for the little country. He ensured that in no time in the time being would Israel be weak internally. He provided a cover for the people by ensuring continous growth gains and preparedness of the government to see off any potential threat internally and externally. It is becaue of his strong governance when the region was in turmoil during the Iraq invasion and the Syrian civil war would Israel still be stable. This made him a viable voice in ensuring stability in the region and a partner for the normalizing of the region which is rigged with volatility.
Netanyahu has been seen as a stong leader of Israel and he has often come out nad spoke about the rights of the jews. His recent coalition attempt following the April elections spoke volumes about the PM. Netanyahu has been against the rapprochment or the settlement policies of the previous governments with the Palestianians.
Often coming out and fighting for the rights of the jews. The recent comments over reclaiming the land for the jews and ordering the expansion of the settlement might have created some doubts but the international recognition of Israel and the work done by Netanyahu to ensure that the jewish people have a country which is their own, which is stronger to deal with any threat speaks volumes about the leadership quality of the PM.
He has also managed to rally the Jewish identity around the globe. He also happens to be a leader with a strong vision for the country which can be seen in the efforts he has been making around the globe to have as many allies as possible.
Despite winning the elections in April, Netanyahu has been tying hard to maintain his political clout. Yet, his achievements are something which cannot be overlooked at. With the foundation that he has laid for Israel, it is just a matter of time when it would be the country which would be an example for the region as symbol of stability and progress.
Holding the premiership for a record reign of 13 plus years out which he has held power for three consecutive terms while eyeing for his fourth consecutive term would shift the country towards a new phase in history.