File - After enjoying a surge of popularity following last summer’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu is struggling.
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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: As Israelis prepare to vote in parliament elections Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds himself at a fateful crossroads: Make history or become history.If Netanyahu can lead his Likud Party to victory and secure a fourth term in office, he will move closer to overtaking the nation's iconic founding father, David Ben-Gurion, as the longest-ever serving premier – and cementing a status as the dominant Israeli politician of the past two decades.Iran and the international community seem headed toward a nuclear deal that Netanyahu abhors, and a resolution to the Palestinian issue seems as distant as ever.His stern rhetorical style, often drawing comparisons to Churchill, has served him well during a three-decade career that has included time at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, as ambassador to the United Nations, a series of senior Cabinet posts and a stint as opposition leader. He has spent a total of nine years as prime minister since 1996, and if he can keep the post through mid-2019, he will become the country's longest serving premier.Netanyahu, meanwhile, has appeared increasingly rattled, giving a series of interviews to Israeli media after largely shunning them for years.Yossi Beilin, a dovish former Cabinet minister and longtime rival of Netanyahu's, described the prime minister as a "complicated" man who truly believes in worst-case scenarios. He compared Netanyahu to the late Yitzhak Shamir, a prime minister who maintained the status quo at all costs.
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