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Benjamin Netanyahu ruled Israel longer than any previous leader because he represented a powerful political consensus—one that opposed peace with Palestinians, supported settlement expansion and undermined democratic institutions and due process for Israelis.
Much has rightly been made about Netanyahu’s personal corruption and lack of any core beliefs. The man was willing to do anything to stay in power, and he will presumably do anything to return as prime minister. But the drama over his individual fate should not obscure the degree to which Netanyahu successfully mainstreamed inflammatory and anti-democratic beliefs in Israel, and normalized his grating, tough-guy style of racist and maximalist politics.