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Time magazine asks whether ´King Bibi´ will make war or peace (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff 05/18/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=4374 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
With his "bulletproof majority" in the Knesset and no rivals in sight, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to become the longest-serving premier since Ben-Gurion • "Israel is a democracy, not a monarchy," Netanyahu says in response to the Time article.

What will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu do with his newfound political power — make war or peace? That´s the question being asked on the cover of Time magazine´s latest issue, as it tips its hat in recognition of "King Bibi" and his unprecedented political position after "conquering" Israel.

"The Palestinians won´t have a better partner than me. I can make things happen and bring a sustainable peace," Netanyahu said in his interview with managing editor of Time, Richard Stengel. Netanyahu went on to explain that "peace treaties don´t guarantee peace," adding that the Israelis and Palestinians have competing and incompatible narratives.

Stengel wrote: "The longer Bibi and I talk about the Palestinians, the more I get the sense he just does not believe that they want peace or that they are capable of democracy if they had it. He remains skeptical about the direction of the Arab Spring. ´Locke and Montesquieu are not exactly household names there yet,´ he says."

Stengel notes Netanyahu´s political "thunderstroke" to bring Kadima into the government, stating: "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. With his bullet-proof majority, he has a chance to turn himself into the historic figure he has always yearned to be. He has become, as some commentators have dubbed him, the King of Israel."

Stengel then goes on to say, "But to be a historic figure, one must make history. Now we will find out what the king really believes. Is he a statesman or a pol, a builder or a general, the Israeli leader who can finally make peace with the Palestinians or the one who launches a potentially disastrous unilateral attack on Iran?"

Regarding Iran, Netanyahu reiterates that there is greater danger in doing nothing, rather than acting, explaining: "My father gave me two pieces of advice when I went into politics. Never touch money, and don´t use ad hominem attacks on people. But when I became prime minister, I asked him, What attributes does one need to lead a country? He was older then, and he asked me, What do you think? I said, You need convictions and courage and the ability to act. He said, You need that for anything. He then said what you need to lead a country is education, and by that he meant an understanding of history, the knowledge to be able to put things in perspective."

Stengel asked Netanyahu if he believes the Iranians are "rational" actors as some have called them.

"People say that, but how do you know that?" Netanyahu responded.

"His attitude is, Show me the evidence. Prove it," writes Stengel, continuing, "He sees himself as the last empiricist. He thinks people, especially liberals, take too much on faith. He dwells in reality."

Stengel continues: "Ronald Reagan, an idol of Bibi´s, used to say, Trust but verify. Bibi´s attitude is Don´t trust. Verify. Like his father, he sees Jewish history as a succession of holocausts. … In the world according to Bibi, it is better to be victor than victim."

On Thursday, Netanyahu commented on the article by saying that, "The system of government in Israel will not change. Israel is a democracy, not a monarchy, and I´m under no illusions of this even for an instant." (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 05/18/12)

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