Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a polarizing figure. For some, he's the ultimate defender of the State of Israel, willing to do whatever he thinks it takes to protect the one Jewish state located in the most volatile region of the world. For others, Bibi symbolizes everything that's wrong with 21st century Israel: the state's rightward turn and its never ending conflict with the Palestinians. His supporters chant “Bibi, King of Israel!” at his rallies, while at protests, his enemies call him “crime minister.”
Bill Clinon said: “you should never underestimate him.” Barack Obama said he was “smart, canny, tough” but that they “did not share worldviews.” And Trump called him “the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with” but then later, infamously “f— him.”
But there's one thing that everyone can agree on: Benjamin Netanyahu is the reigning master of Israeli politics. And despite being ousted from the Prime Ministership just over a year ago, Bibi is back. For a third stint.
Why is Benjamin Netanyahu the man that Israelis just can't quit? And what does it mean for Israel that he's attempting to form a government with some of the most radical, far-right parties in Israel?
Today, an interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the eve of his return to power and on the occasion of the publication of his book, Bibi: My Story, an autobiography about his evolution from soldier to statesman. We talked about how he draws moral lines as a leader, about the prospect of peace with the Palestinians and the prospect of peace with the Saudis, and about how he plans to uphold Israel's delicate balance between Judaism and democracy as he steps in to lead his country once more.
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