Benjamin Netanyahu re-elected Israeli PM

Netanyahu’s Cabinet appointment was controversial from the outset. However, he has repeatedly won popularity polls since becoming Prime Minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in again on Wednesday.

For the third time, it was the former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen who handed the ceremonial oath of office in Jerusalem.

As is traditional, Netanyahu said “tikkun olam”, or repairing the world’s troubles, following the ceremony.

Netanyahu’s new Cabinet is a mix of hawks and doves, economists and scholars, pragmatists and well-connected politicians.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected for a fourth term

Its 15 ministers are well-respected in the Israeli media for their intellectual skills, but less so for their political strategy.

Their tasks include stopping Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East from attaining regional dominance – something they disagree on.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in again as prime minister

The 63-year-old who is due to attend an international summit in Brussels on Thursday wants to pursue a settlement with Palestinians and maintain global support for peace efforts.

That, his supporters say, is the best route towards achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

His detractors see his term as having brought little or no progress on achieving that goal and as alienating the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s government was formed with the support of the religious right-wing parties Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and Shas, which both block Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s peace moves with the Palestinians.

However, the lack of an aggressive stance on the Iran nuclear deal and growing signs of falling support at home, might put some of those controversial policies on hold.

Netanyahu resigned a year ago following an attempt to kick him out of office over his handling of allegations of corruption.

The investigation ended with a 10-month legal ban on him holding public office, but he is determined to stay on as prime minister as he sees himself as a political survivor.

Netanyahu’s re-election has been praised as one of the biggest upsets in Israeli history.

As Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni declared Israel’s Jewishness – and election slogan.

Netanyahu long denied being Jewish, but in 2001 acknowledged his ancestry when it was suggested to him.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Right-wingers and centrists in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition could stoke tensions

He promised to be strong on security after the shooting of 13 people by a Palestinian in a Jerusalem synagogue in 2015, which followed an attack by Palestinian gunmen at the entrance to the city in which two Israeli policemen were killed.

He first took office in 2009, after former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stepped down in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Netanyahu’s Party Yisrael Beitenu took 24 seats in the 120-seat Israeli Knesset to 12 for Netanyahu’s Likud, with the Zionist Union of Isaac Herzog and Shelly Yachimovich winning 32 seats.

Netanyahu has been re-elected for a fourth term.

After the elections, Netanyahu formed a coalition of right-wing and religious parties.

In coalition talks, Ehud Barak’s Labor and the left-wing Meretz offered conditional support for Netanyahu in return for some policy concessions, but he turned them down.

Instead, his alliance has included Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), Shas, the Kulanu (New Right) party of Moshe Kahlon, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu and Yesh Atid (There is a Future).

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