Another election victory for Israel’s strong leader

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, seemed last night to have won the general election in the country.

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 12:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 12:12 pm
News Letter editorial

His Likud party and its allies appeared to have secured a clear majority in the country’s parliament.

This is the latest chapter in an extraordinary career for Mr Netanyahu.

He defeated Benny Gantz, a former military chief of staff and now one of the leaders of a political party called Blue and White.

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It is Mr Nethanyahu’s fifth term.

His political reputation has been tainted by corruption allegations, but Israelis have decided that they place greater store by other qualities that he displays.

One such quality is firm leadership and an uncompromising approach to Israeli security.

The small nation is a remarkable society, quite unlike any other country in the region, and with massively disproportionate economic and cultural clout when considered in relation to population.

Tel Aviv is a thriving international city, at the heart of a civilisation built out of desert.

Yet Israel has faced an existential threat since its very inception. It is not afraid to defend itself in those circumstances and it always confronts those who terrorise it. For example, Mr Netanyahu’s brother is a deserved hero after sacrificing his own life in the effort to rescue hostages in Entebbe in 1976, when Israeli military flew thousands of miles to free the detained civilians.

Benjamin Netanyahu also has a former record of elite military service.

The UK should, like the US, always seek to make clear that it is one of Israel’s closest allies. Within the UK, some of Israel’s strongest friends are here in Northern Ireland.

Long may that be so.