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Time Magazine Cover Features “King Bibi”

Lead story of May 28 issue devoted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: May 17th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Time Magazine Cover Features “King Bibi”

Time Magazine’s lead story in its upcoming May 28 issue will profile Benjamin Netanyahu, as the Israeli Prime Minister is featured on the front cover of the publication under the headline, “King Bibi.”

Written by Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel, the article, titled, “Bibi’s Choice,” explores the difficult decisions that Netanyahu will have to make in his efforts to secure the future of Israel, according to Ynet.

Underneath the front page headline, a subheading reads, “He's conquered Israel, but will Netanyahu now make peace – or war?”

To be a historic figure, one must make history,” writes Stengel.

“Now we will find out what the king really believes. Is he a statesman or a pol, a builder or a general, the Israeli leader who can finally make peace with the Palestinians or the one who launches a potentially disastrous unilateral attack on Iran.”

Stengel states that Netanyahu “is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel. He has no national rival. His approval rating, roughly 50 per cent, is at an all-time high.”

The eight-page, approximately 5,000-word article discusses the Iranian nuclear program and Netanyahu’s skeptical attitude toward the Palestinian leadership’s readiness to enter peace negotiations, according to The Times of Israel.

In Time’s online blog, which discusses the article’s range of topics, Netanyahu is described as a “controversial” leader who in the past month “cannily consolidate[d] power, brokering a coalition that pairs his Likud party and other right-wing allies with the more centrist Kadima.”

Time writes that “the deal deflects calls for fresh elections and gives him a virtual lock on Israel’s top job going forward.”

With a now-stable political position, the author ponders whether Netanyahu will be able to turn himself into a “historic figure” by making peace with the Palestinians.

Stengel says that the longer he spoke with Netanyahu, the greater impression he got that the Israeli Prime Minister does not believe the Palestinians are interested in peace or capable of democracy.

“If they figure it out, they will never have a better partner than me. I can make it happen and make it stick,” Netanyahu stated about the peace process with the Palestinians.

“Under his watch, the peace process has gone moribund — which compelled the Palestinians to break away from talks and take their cause to the floor of the United Nations General Assembly last year,” according to Time, which also calls Netanyahu’s stance on Iran “a hawkish pose that flies, sometimes, even in the face of the intelligence analyses of his own officials.”

According to The Times of Israel, “Bibi does not share the general faith in negotiations or give any ground on the military option,” Stengel notes.

“There’s a greater threat in doing nothing, he says, than in acting. Game theory would also suggest that there is no downside to Bibi’s bluster. But he gives no hint that he is anything but dead serious.”

Stengel writes that the choice is Netanyahu’s to decide “whether he is a prisoner of history or can write a new narrative.”

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