Benjamin Netanyahu Re-Elected as Prime Minister of Israel


Atef Safadi/Pool/AFP/Getty Images/TNS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

Daniel Lara, Staff Photographer

Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to office as Prime Minister of Israel has been met with a mixed reception from the Jewish community on campus. Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, was sworn in on December 29th after a close election and will now serve his sixth term in office.

Netanyahu has been a polarizing figure since his rise to power in 2009. According to CBS, “the incoming administration (Netanyahu’s new government) could be the most intolerant and insular government ever to lead the country.” He is criticized for his hardline views on security and his opposition to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; His political opponents argue that he has pushed Israel further from peace with Palestine, while his supporters praise him for his strong stance against terrorism.

Mr. Ady Timer, a social science professor, said, “Although Netanyahu, or Bibi, has excellent leadership, has worked with multiple cabinets members during his other terms, and has prior experience as prime minister, to push Israel forward, he has to accept that the only solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis would be to have a two-state solution with Palestine.” He continued, “It has become more of a humanitarian issue than a political one. The Jewish state has to open up, be more lenient, and work with Palestine. Both sides have to conclude that it will not be just one Jewish state or one Palestine state. Bibi will only delay that realization with his new term in office.”

The BBC states, “[Netanyahu] is a firm supporter of Israel’s settlement-building in the West Bank.” Although Netanyahu faces fierce criticism from some members of the international community for his support, his opponents argue that this move violates international law, which his supporters view as an obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine. 

Luis Gandelman, the co-president of the Jewish Student Union, said, “Netanyahu is harmful to Israel’s status as a liberal democracy, primarily because of whom he brought as members of his coalition. Racist far-right politicians like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir are disenfranchising Arab citizens of Israel, LGBTQ+ Israelis, and less religious Jews, which together encompass close to half of Israel’s population. The laws they are proposing are sending Israel backward, and into a state where it was many years ago, wrecking through all of the social progress it has made as a society.

While many have expressed concern about the direction his new government could take Israel, few have expressed hope that he will be able to make progress toward peace with Palestine. Only time will tell how Israel’s new government will shape the future of Israel and its relationship with its neighbors. Netanyahu’s sixth term as Prime Minister will undoubtedly be filled with domestic and international challenges.