Newsweek cover anticipates the fall of 'King Bibi'

According to Newsweek's online archives, this is the first time the prime minister has been highlighted thus in Newsweek, though the magazine has featured numerous Israel-related covers.

March 20, 2018 12:22
2 minute read.
Newsweek cover anticipates the fall of 'King Bibi'

Screenshot of the March 23, 2018 Newsweek cover featuring Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: screenshot)


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If you happen to pick up a copy of Newsweek this week, you'll be greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's face gracing the magazine's cover, in a photograph featuring his right profile and eyes gazing into the unknown future. The cover's headline reads "The Fall of King Bibi?" and is followed by the caption: "Corruption. Netanyahu and the future of Israel."

The related opinion piece describes how despite Netanyahu's spellbinding "performance" at AIPAC, the "King Bibi" status quo is changing. Between numerous indictment probes, a struggling coalition and an increasingly fissured Israeli public, it is not clear what the future will hold for Netanyahu.

According to Newsweek's online archives, which date back to 2013,  this is the first time the prime minister has been highlighted thus in Newsweek, though the magazine has featured numerous Israel-related covers.

Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann's Jerusalem trial was a prominent cover story in 1961. In 1982, the cover featured "The Olympic Tragedy" that was the Munich Olympic massacre, along with a picture of IDF soldiers lifting a casket with an Israeli flag into a grave.

The magazine also featured former prime minister Ariel Sharon three times throughout his life: in 1983 following the Sabra and Shatila massacre, in 1985 when he sued Time magazine for libel and for the final time when he fell ill in 2006.

In May of 2012, Time magazine printed an issue with the title "King Bibi" on the cover and a photo of the prime minister underneath the caption: "He's conquered Israel. But will Netanyahu now make peace - or war?"

Even in 2012, when Netanyahu had only been in office for six years (three consecutively), Time already found it appropriate to call him "King Bibi," a nickname which quickly caught on among the general public.

The Time piece was written at a time when Netanyahu's approval ratings were at an all-time high, his status as "king" nearly uncontested and his reign of influence over the prospects of violence or stability in the region regarded as nearly absolute. As the piece stated, "The choice [between peace and war] is his."
Now in his 12th year in office and mere months away from outdoing former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion out as the longest serving Israeli prime minister, the cover suggests that Netanyahu's corruption scandals and possible demise are indeed reminiscent of the fall of a king.

Just as Netanyahu's status as "King Bibi" is being put into question, parodies of Donald Trump as "King Trump", such as one by American singer Bob Rivers, have been popping up across the web, and Newsweek itself published a tweet in August referring to the president as "America's boy king."

For the first time during his tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu is finally serving alongside an American president with whom he sees eye to eye, but it remains unclear for how long these two kings will continue to reign side by side.

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