Photograph by Alex Majoli—Magnum Photos for TIME
TIME

‘Only the Strong Survive.’ How Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu Is Testing the Limits of Power

Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office, with portraits of Israel’s early Prime Ministers, starting with David Ben-Gurion, top left.
Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office, with portraits of Israel’s early Prime Ministers, starting with David Ben-Gurion, top left.

After 13 years in power, Benjamin Netanyahu can claim to have remade Israel in his image. Is that a good thing?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pacing the stage at a cyber-conference in Tel Aviv, and he is not happy. For the past seven minutes, he’s been making the case that his policies have launched a booming tech industry in Israel and enabled the tiny country that once fought for its existence to become a security force around the globe. He’s holding his shoulders up and back, a stage tip he got from Sean Connery. His red tie, white shirt and dark suit mirror a certain American President who has emerged as a massive Netanyahu ally.

But there’s a problem. Graphics on the giant screen behind him keep popping up at the wrong time. “Who’s dealing with the slides? Get that person out of there,” Netanyahu says, with the sweep of an arm. He makes his next point, then orders: “Now show a slide.” Pause. Nothing. “God, I’ve never had this happen before. This will require debriefing.”

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This appears in the July 22, 2019 issue of TIME.

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