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Israel’s top court rules Netanyahu can form new government

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Ground Report | News Desk

The Likud Party of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the general election held in the country. The Supreme Court also dismissed a separate petition by the same opposition parties and pro-democracy groups that challenged Netanyahu’s right to form a government. The second petition argued that last month’s coalition agreement between Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, violated basic Israeli law.

Following the decision, Likud and Blue and White issued a joint statement saying that Netanyahu and Gantz have “concluded the establishment of the government” and said the swearing in ceremony would be May 13.

In a sign of the importance of the decisions, 11 Supreme Court justices heard the cases in contrast to the usual three-or five-judge panels.

The Supreme Court heard the first petition on Sunday, in which lawyers for the petitioner argued that as an indicted politician Netanyahu should not be given the authority to form a new government.

Who is Benjamin Netanyahu?

He was born in Tel Aviv in 1949 to his Israeli-born mother Tzila Segal and Polish father Professor Benzion Netanyahu.

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Because of his father’s academic career, Benjamin lived in the Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, USA, for six years over two separate stints.

But after graduating high school in America in 1967, the future leader returned to his homeland and joined the military.

As part of the Israeli Defence Force he served for five years as an elite special forces fighter taking part in raids during the bloody War of Attrition from 1967 until 1970.

He then returned to the US to study degrees in architecture and political science at MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard in Massachusetts.

When did Netanyahu enter politics?

He returned to Israel in the 1980s and started a career in politics joining the right wing Likud party.

After his profile was raised, Netanyahu became the leader of the Likud party in 1993.

He was elected the Prime Minister of Israel in 1996.

His first tenure in office was dominated by US-brokered peace talks with Palestine, which was led by Yasser Arafat.

Netanyahu helped introduce free market economics to Israel while also easing the country’s strict foreign exchange protocols enabling Israelis to open foreign bank accounts and invest abroad.

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After losing the 1999 election in the face of a marriage scandal and corruption accusations, he temporarily retired from politics.

Netanyahu returned to frontline politics as the Likud Finance Minister before wrestling back control of the party and serving as leader of the opposition from 2005.

He became Prime Minister of Israel once again in 2009.