Israel’s richest, most influential public figures

Benjamin Netanyahu

Selected parliamentarian, 1977-1993, 1977-2001

Former general and Army Chief of Staff, 1984-1988, 1988-1991, 1991-1995

Pensions paid to former Prime Ministers are usually assessed according to their service date. PM Netanyahu, who began his tenure at the beginning of 1992, made a full pension. Under the Israeli law, such pensions are paid regardless of whether the prime minister is still serving.

All those interviewed were based in Jerusalem, or Jerusalem, and their own estimates.

Netanyahu has twice been voted prime minister, once in 1996 and again in 1999. In 1996, he was elected with about 80 percent of the votes. Netanyahu’s second victory was contested by the main opposition party and forged largely on support from the Orthodox Jewish community, and most importantly the ultra-Orthodox Jews who populate a majority of the holy city.

At the time, Netanyahu needed 61 Likud vote to remain Prime Minister. There are 163 seats in the Knesset and 61 votes for Likud, which currently has 67 seats. Netanyahu needed to get one more party member to make the 61 needed. In 1996, the newly founded Orthodox party Tsomet, headed by Reuven Rivlin, elected from Be’er Sheva, agreed to back Netanyahu. But Tzipi Livni’s Kadima, a party on the right of the political spectrum, tried to block the deal and force Netanyahu to form a coalition to stand on his own. In an incredible coincidence, the Kadima Party, which would later bring Livni to power, received 22 percent of the vote on Dec. 27, 1996.

Rivlin resigned as leader of Tsomet about a year later, and voted against Netanyahu in his second general election in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Netanyahu defected from Likud to form his own party and effectively became a political movement. Despite losing his political leader, Netanyahu won the second general election that year with just more than 62 percent of the vote.

In the general election of 1999, Netanyahu returned to Likud, forming a government, which did not include the ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu was easily reelected to a third term in the 2000 general election.

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