Thursday, May 17, 2012

TIME profiles Benjamin Netanyahu as: KING BIBI... Not BFF with Prince Mitt

TIME’s cover story this week, written by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel, profiles Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the King of Israel.

From TIME’s managing editor Rick Stengel:
"Netanyahu is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel. He has no national rival. His approval rating, roughly 50%, is at an all-time high. At a moment when incumbents around the world are being shunted aside, he is triumphant."

Read the entire profile here

Since there has been so much talk over Bibi's desire to Barack Obama replaced in the White House, come November, here is what Bibi had to say about Romney and the US presidential elections:
"It was at Boston Consulting that he met Mitt Romney. "We did not know each other that well," Bibi says. "He was the whiz kid. I was just in the back of the room." Bibi says he has seen Romney only a handful of times over the years and only once this year. They spoke for 10 minutes during his visit to Washington in March, mainly about Iran."

"I follow American politics," he says evenly, "but I don't interfere in American politics."
My colleague, Tal Shalev, referred me to TIME's first profile on Netanyahu, when he first became Israel's youngest Prime Minister, at the age of 45.

Here is what struck me though. Reading through the archives,i came across a piece describing how President Clinton directly interfered in the Peres/Netanyahu race, and how disappointed he was when Bibi edged out Peres at the end of the night.
The overall mood in Washington, where President Clinton has invested so heavily in the peace process, was gloomy too, but officials were determined to cast the outcome in the best light. During the last 10 days of the campaign, Clinton told close advisers he was concerned that Peres had not fought back against Netanyahu's negative ads, an article of faith in the President's own campaign. He stayed up until 1 a.m. Thursday monitoring the returns, even taking out his calculator to compute how many of the absentee ballots Peres would need. When the exit polls shifted in Netanyahu's favor, Clinton was disappointed but not surprised. The President's response, say his close aides, was "professional" and "analytical." 

In his public declarations and a 10-min. congratulatory call to Netanyahu after the 43-hr. tally finally confirmed his hair-thin victory, Clinton pledged, "Whatever the results, the U.S. will continue its policy of support for the people of Israel." For now, the White House line is, Think positive: we're not going to prejudge the Prime Minister before he has formed a government; it's one thing to conduct a campaign and quite another to govern; let's wait and see what happens."
So while Netanyahu gently repudiates the media's attempt to portray his as a close friend to Romney, and the perception that he is eying for a Romney victory over Obama. It seems that it was President Clinton that invested so heavily to prevent Netanyahu from winning the Israeli public's support, while Bibi is only overlooking but not intervening in the US presidential elections. 


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