Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. (Ronen Zvulun, pool via AP)
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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu might be upbeat these days: The economy is growing, his opposition is weak and the incoming Trump administration seems friendly, even to the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media. Despite his impressive total of 11 years in office over two periods, Netanyahu has found himself at frequent loggerheads with much of the country's establishment, including lately the security leadership. Israeli law is murkier when it comes to prime ministers, and Netanyahu has given no indication that he would step down in such a case.Most of the attention has focused on Netanyahu's reported jockeying with Mozes in 2014 over how to rein in Israel Hayom – a free daily financed by Netanyahu's billionaire friend Sheldon Adelson that largely serves as Netanyahu's mouthpiece and has damaged Yediot financially.The payoff, allegedly, would be Yediot flipping its editorial line in favor of Netanyahu. This week, Netanyahu confirmed for the first time that he called an early election in 2015 to block legislation aimed at curtailing Israel Hayom's distribution by forcing it to charge a newsstand fee.Trump looks to be a far more comfortable fit for Netanyahu and his nationalist coalition.
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