DA VID BEN-GURION declaraes Israel’s independence in Tel Aviv in 1948.
(photo credit: FRED CSASZNIK)
Forget King Bibi. From now on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be known as the Gordie Howe of Israeli politics.
Howe was the legendary hockey player who played 32 consecutive years, beginning in 1946. Netanyahu is the prime minister who as of Tuesday will have spent 2,793 days – or seven years and 236 days – as premier, surpassing David Ben-Gurion’s record for the longest consecutive term.
Netanyahu took over for his second run as prime minister on March 31, 2009. Ben-Gurion’s longest consecutive streak was his second term in office as well, from November 3, 1955, to June 26, 1963.
Though Netanyahu has surpassed Ben-Gurion’s consecutive record, the country’s first premier still holds the record as the longest- serving prime minister, since his first term in office lasted some 5½ years, from May 1948 to January 1954.
But that record, too, is well within the reach of the 67-year-old Netanyahu, who can surpass that mark if he remains prime minister until July 19, 2019. Netanyahu’s first term from 1996-1999 lasted just over three years.
Though 2,793 straight days – and counting – as the country’s leader might seem like a long time, it’s nothing compared to some other leaders around the free world.
For instance, German Chancellor Andrea Merkel, who only Sunday announced that she would run for a fourth term, has been in office since November 22, 2005, a full 4,018 days.
And, according to an Israeli Democracy Institute table released on Monday, Margaret Thatcher served as Britain’s premier for 4,226 days from 1979-1990; Francois Mitterrand spent a whopping 5,109 straight days as France’s president from 1981-1995; and Sweden’s former prime minister Tage Erlander holds the record among established democracies, serving for no less than 8,404 days from 1946-1969.
Who knows, Netanyahu might also have that record in mind, because – as he said at Monday’s Likud faction meeting in the Knesset – he has no intention of going anywhere.
Referring to the controversy surrounding his decision to purchase three additional German submarines, Netanyahu advised those “in a hurry” to topple him over the matter to shift gears.
“You can relax,” he said to the applause of those in the room. “I am going to be with you still for a long time.”