Gershon Hepner

Bibi’s Political Longevity

When Bibi Netanyahu became the Prime Minister of Israel in 1996,

Bill Clinton was the US President, John Major the UK’s Prime Minister and Helmut Kohl head of the Bundestag.

In spite of his alleged offenses and the controversial nature of his politics,

he surely should like all survivors be allowed to boast about his indestructability and about it even brag.


There’s almost just about as little difference between the last sentence’s grandilocuting verbs

as between the moral standards of most politicians, for whom their political longevity

is generally their most important goal, violating prohibitions even when this turns them into perps,

inflicting only rarely on careers of politicians what they most want to prevent, their brevity.


Politicians who theatrically condemn behavior like School for Scandal’s Richard Sheridan

deserve often to be buried in the same grave that they wish their targets to be buried in,

yet I don’t think that this applies to President Joe Biden, though he’s probably committed

the same offense his predecessor did — undeliberately, presumably, dim-witted.


In “Netanyahu in his own words: A divisive politician’s harsh philosophy of survival,” TLS, 1/13/23. Ari Shaavit writes, reviewing My Story, by Benjamin Netanyahu:

Benjamin Netanyahu is a unique international phenomenon. When he first strode on to the world stage, in 1984, as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States, Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of the United Kingdom and Freddie Mercury had yet to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at Live Aid. When he was first elected prime minister, in 1996, Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office, John Major in 10 Downing Street and Helmut Kohl in the Bundestag. But, decades after his illustrious counterparts have become historical figures, Netanyahu is not only alive and kicking politically, but intent on stirring up new storms. Following his election victory on November 1, he was sworn in as prime minister on December 29 for an unprecedented sixth term.

Netanyahu is also a unique Israeli phenomenon. The time he has spent in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem – more than fifteen years – far outstrips that enjoyed by Yitzhak Rabin (six years), Menachem Begin (six) or Golda Meir (five), let alone Shimon Peres (three) or Ehud Barak (two). This tireless “wizard” (Netanyahu’s political nickname) has even surpassed David Ben-Gurion (thirteen) to become Israel’s longest-serving leader.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at