Benjamin Netanyahu

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Benjamin Netanyahu (2019)
Signature of Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu ( Hebrew בנימין (ביבי) נתניהו, Born October 21, 1949 in Tel Aviv ) is an Israeli politician ( Likud ) and Israel's Prime Minister since 2009 .

Netanyahu was Israeli Prime Minister for the first time from May 1996 to May 1999. In 1998 and from 2002 to 2003 he was Foreign Minister . In 2003 he became Minister of Finance ; he resigned from office in mid-2005 in protest against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to partially clear the Israeli settlements .

When he was elected to the 17th Knesset in April 2006, he became leader of the opposition . In 2009 he was re-elected Prime Minister. In 2013 , 2015 , April 2019 and March 2020 he was able to defend this office in early elections.

Personal background

Netanyahu is one of the three sons of Zila and Benzion Netanyahu . His father was a professor of Jewish history and editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica .

His older brother Jonathan was killed in Operation Entebbe in 1976 and is considered a war hero in Israel . His younger brother Iddo is a radiologist and writer. All three brothers served in the Sajeret Matkal elite unit .

Netanyahu is married for the third time. From his first marriage to Miriam Weizmann, he has a daughter, Noa, who lives in Jerusalem as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. With his third wife Sara , with whom he has been married since 1991, he has two sons, Jair and Avner. Although Netanyahu was born in Israel, he grew up in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania . He received his high school degree from Cheltenham High School. He holds a BS in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MS in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management ; he also studied political science at Harvard University and MIT. He is also the author of various books on international terrorism .

Career start

From 1976 to 1978 he worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group . After the death of his brother Jonathan, with the support of his family and several sponsors, he founded the "Jonathan Institute" in his memory, which he headed until 1980. The institute organized conferences and book publications on international terrorism against Israel - a topic that Netanyahu wanted to gain broader public awareness in this way. From 1980 to 1982 he was active as an economic manager in Israel. The then ambassador of Israel to the USA, Moshe Arens , became aware of him and helped him to get a job as deputy ambassador to Washington in 1982. Netanyahu's next position was Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in 1984. In 1988 he returned to Israel, moved as a deputy in the Likud Knesset and was appointed deputy foreign minister of the new Arens.

Prime Minister 1996 to 1999

Election and term of office

Netanyahu was elected in 1996 after a series of Palestinian suicide attacks on Israeli civilians. Shimon Peres , who had been ahead in the polls, was unable to stop the terrorist attacks. On March 3 and 4, 1996, there were two deadly attacks by Palestinian terrorists, killing 32 Israeli citizens. These attacks were the real reason for the rapidly deteriorating confidence in Peres. Unlike the latter, Netanyahu did not rely on the goodwill of Yasser Arafat and made any progress in the peace process dependent on the Palestinian autonomy fulfilling its essential obligation - mainly to fight terrorism. The slogan of his campaign was "Netanyahu - Create a Secure Peace".

As Prime Minister he negotiated the Wye Agreement with Yasser Arafat , but many said he was trying to stop any progress. This was supported by the very controversial decision of August 2, 1996 to lift the previously ordered freeze on construction for Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. In the weeks that followed, Netanyahu obtained the establishment of a large number of new settlements.

His uncompromising policy initially seemed to have an effect. Unlike under his predecessor and successor, there were hardly any suicide attacks within Israel under his government. In 1996, however, he and Jerusalem's mayor Ehud Olmert decided to open an exit for the Western Wall tunnel. This resulted in three days of unrest among the Palestinians, with numerous deaths on both sides.

Rejection in the people

At first, large parts of the media and the intellectual upper class rejected Netanyahu's policies before he lost the confidence of the Israeli public after a long chain of scandals (including rumors about his wife). An investigation opened against him on allegations of corruption also ultimately contributed to the loss of confidence. The wave culminated in the 1999 elections, when Netanyahu was defeated by Ehud Barak and held back politically until 2002.

Political activity from 2000 to 2008

Ministerial until 2005

In 2002, after the Labor Party withdrew from government, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Netanyahu foreign minister. Netanyahu challenged Sharon to chair the Likud, but failed. After the 2003 elections, Netanyahu accepted the post of finance minister in the new Sharon government.

Netanyahu is considered a hardliner (also known as the “falcon”) within the Likud; he is one of the opponents of an independent Palestinian state (he prefers self-government under Israeli control), but voted for the Sharon Plan . Within the party, he was a competitor of the former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon . Netanyahu tried to weaken his position by calling for a referendum on the withdrawal plan. As finance minister, he made daring plans to rescue Israel's economy from the troubles it had run into during the Al-Aqsa intifada . His concepts for relaunching the Israeli economy were controversial because of their economically liberal character. On August 7, 2005, Netanyahu resigned from the post of finance minister in protest against the Israeli cabinet's approval of an initial phase in the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip . He justified the move by saying that a unilateral withdrawal would not bring Israel any advantages, rather the opposite was the case. The withdrawal undermines security, divides the nation and is not the way to peace. It is also a step towards the pre-1967 borders, which cannot be defended militarily. The stock market reacted to his resignation with price losses.

Opposition from 2005

On the evening of December 19, 2005, Benjamin Netanyahu was the winner of the Likud internal primary against Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom . A few weeks earlier, Sharon had left Likud in order to found a new movement called " Kadima " (Forward) with many former leaders of the Likud . Sharon’s Kadima had a good chance of winning the March 28, 2006 elections. That’s how it turned out. As a result of a stroke , Sharon fell into a coma, whereupon his deputy Ehud Olmert became interim Prime Minister. After the elections on March 28, the President entrusted Moshe Katzav Ehud Olmert with forming a government . The Likud had lost massive votes in the Kadima election victory and was in the opposition - the new Israeli government consisted of Kadima, the labor party around Amir Peretz , and the pensioners' party Gil and Schas .

Meanwhile, rumors were circulating that the two right-wing parties Likud and Jisra'el Beitenu wanted to merge. The program apparently had three stages: First, the elections for the office of Likud chairman should have been brought forward to October 2007. Second, after that, the Likud party book would have been changed so that new candidates outside the Likud would have the opportunity to vote and be elected. "This way we can bring people like the former chief of staff Jaalon and President Moshe Katzav to the Likud," said its representative. In the third and final stage, Likud and Jisra'el Beitenu launched a joint appeal that should ultimately have led to the merger of the two parties. In secret conversations, the Likud called the new party "Ha-Likud Beitenu". Likud chief Netanyahu and Israeli Beteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman expressed fundamental agreement on a merger between the two parties. In the meantime, the merger plans have been put on hold, because with the entry of Jisra'el Beitenu into the government, Netanyahu found himself on the losing side and had to abandon his plan to join the government with the new party at short notice. He stayed with the good polls and the role of opposition leader.

Return to power

After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on July 12, 2006 , rumors spread that Benjamin Netanyahu would be represented as a hardliner - like Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of Jisra'el Beitenu - in an emergency government. Both are calling for tougher treatment of the Palestinians . In Netanyahu's opinion, Ehud Olmert had missed the war goals (and according to a poll this currently shared 63% of Israelis). He therefore called for Olmert to resign. With the "resurrection" of Likud, 45% of the population of Netanyahu could have envisioned themselves as prime minister again.

According to current polls at the time, if new elections had taken place, the Likud would have overtaken the ruling Kadima party by claiming 35 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Netanyahu commented on the allegations made against Olmert because of the disastrous war in Lebanon, from Israel's point of view, and mentioned that the population has apparently lost what little trust they have in the government. It is now possible to give the population the last word. He was alluding to early elections, which, according to the polls, could have helped him get a new seat in the Prime Minister's office.

After things had calmed down for some time around Netanyahu, he was re-elected as chairman of Likud on August 15, 2007, with 73.2% quite clearly; however, over 22% of the votes went to his radical and nationalist challenger Moshe Feiglin , which was seen as a respectable success. His previous challenger in Likud, Silvan Shalom , renounced a candidacy in advance.

Prime Minister since 2009

After the elections for the 18th Knesset on February 10, 2009 , in which the Likud followed closely behind the Kadima (27 to 28 seats), President Shimon Peres gave Netanyahu the task of forming a government. On March 31, 2009, Netanyahu took over the post of prime minister again. Netanyahu's Likud now ruled in a coalition, among others. with the party Jisra'el Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman , the labor party with the party leader Ehud Barak and the ultra-orthodox Shas party . The cabinet had 30 ministers and nine deputy ministers.

According to its own statements, the new government's priorities were security policy with regard to Iran and the Palestinians, as well as economic policy.

On June 14, 2009, ten days after US President Barack Obama's keynote address , Netanyahu approved the establishment of an independent Palestinian state for the first time in a keynote address on foreign policy at Israel's Bar Ilan University . In his half-hour speech, he called on the Palestinian Authority to continue peace talks, but set conditions. Among other things, a Palestinian state must be demilitarized, its imports must be monitored and, in particular, must not include any armaments, it must not have its own control of the airspace and no contractual ties with other states in the military field, and Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel. With regard to the construction of settlements, Netanyahu promised not to confiscate any new land for existing settlements, but did not announce the required complete construction stop in the Jewish settlements, but instead demanded the right to “natural growth”.

In the summer of 2011 , up to 150,000 demonstrators protested against social grievances. Some of them camped in central squares like Rothschild Boulevard. Netanyahu announced reforms.

The parliamentary elections scheduled for autumn 2013 were brought forward to January 22, 2013 after the governing coalition was unable to agree on a budget. Netanyahu's alliance suffered losses but won the election. On March 18, 2013, Netanyahu also took over the Ministry of Diplomacy and Diaspora . The Ministry was renamed on April 29, 2013 to "Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs".

After a government crisis between Likud and the liberal parties in November 2014, Netanyahu fired Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on December 2 . In March 2015, a new election took place, which Netanyahu's party won. In the government that was subsequently formed, he also took on the post of communications minister .

In a speech to the delegates of the 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in October 2015, Netanyahu expressed the view that Adolf Hitler had originally not planned the extermination of European Jews, but only their expulsion. It was only at the urging of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini , who feared that the Jews would flee to Palestine, that their murder was decided after a meeting in November 1941. In 2012, Netanyahu al-Husseini had already named one of the defining architects of the final solution . These theses are rejected by Holocaust research .

In July 2017, as part of his trip to Europe, he met the heads of government of the Visegrád Group - Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. From July 17 to July 19, 2017, he spent a three-day state visit to Hungary. Together with Viktor Orbán he visited the Budapest Great Synagogue . During his visit to Budapest, Netanyahu described the EU's Israel policy as “absolutely crazy”, as Europe tied technological cooperation with Israel “in every area to political conditions”. Europe's criticism of Israeli settlement policy is "abnormal".

In November 2018, the right-wing party Jisra'el Beitenu left Netanyahu's ruling coalition. He then set new elections for April 9, 2019 . The measure is seen as a chess move against the background of a threatened charge in the corruption proceedings. After the social-liberal-centrist parties Chosen LeJisra'el and Jesch Atid had entered into an electoral alliance in the opposition camp , Netanyahu promoted the merging of the Kahanist Otzma Jehudit with the national religious HaBajit haJehudi by promising the alliance a cabinet post in advance.

During the Knesset election in April 2019 , at Netanyahu's instructions, the Likud installed around 1,200 hidden cameras and sound recorders in predominantly Arab polling stations. The aim is to prevent election fraud. Politicians from other parties accused Netanyahu of intimidating Arab voters and thus preventing them from voting. The use of cameras in polling stations has also been blamed for the exceptionally low turnout among Arab Israelis.

Netanyahu and Likud emerged victorious from the April 2019 election, achieved their best election result since 2003, winning 35 seats, five more than in the previous election. After the election, Netanyahu conducted coalition negotiations with the other right-wing parties, but these failed. After the six-week deadline, he had failed to form a coalition, and parliament voted for its self-dissolution and new elections in September. The negotiations failed due to disputes between the ultra-orthodox parties ( Shas and United Torah Judaism ) and the former defense minister Avigdor Liebermann , who with his party demanded that conscription should also apply to all ultra- orthodox in the future.

On July 20, 2019, Netanyahu overtook state founder David Ben-Gurion with the length of his tenure . This makes him the longest ruling prime minister in Israel.

When he again failed to form a government after the parliamentary elections in September 2019 , Benny Gantz was given the mandate to form a new government.

On December 26, 2019, Netanyahu was re-elected as chairman of Likud with 72.5 percent. His internal party rival Gideon Sa'ar received 27.5 percent of the vote.

Investigations and criminal proceedings for suspected corruption

At the beginning of January 2017, Netanyahu was questioned by the police about suspicion of accepting benefits . He is accused of accepting perks from two business people.

In mid-February 2018, the Israeli police announced that, based on the results of their more than a year-long investigation, they were recommending that the attorney general should prosecute Netanyahu on two counts of corruption. In addition to perks granted by two business people ( Arnon Milchan , James Packer ) in the form of jewelry, cigars and champagne in the amount of around 250,000 euros, Netanyahu is accused of trying to influence the reporting of the newspaper Jedi'ot Acharonot, which was critical of him by promising to limit the influence of the free newspaper Israel Hayom, which he regarded as his mouthpiece . A few minutes after the results of the police investigation were published, Netanyahu denied the allegations on television. The opposition asked him to resign. In early December 2018, police recommended that Netanyahu should be charged with another case. During his time as communications minister, he is said to have granted the telecommunications company Bezeq advantages. In return, the online news portal Walla! have reported positively on Netanyahu. The decision to bring charges was then made by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, a former cabinet secretary of Netanyahu. In late February 2019, Mandelblit ruled that Netanyahu should be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in all three cases. After a hearing from Netanyahu, Mandelblit announced the charges in late November 2019. In early January 2020, Netanyahu petitioned parliament for immunity to protect himself from prosecution in the face of charges. With the application for immunity, the proceedings were initially on hold. After Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his immunity application on January 28, 2020, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the Jerusalem District Court on the same day.

The criminal case against Netanyahu opened in the Jerusalem District Court on May 24, 2020. In this context, he himself accused the public prosecutor, judges, media and police of a conspiracy intended to eliminate the will of the people. The continuation of the process was postponed until July 2020. The process continued on July 19, 2020. The start of the taking of evidence was postponed to January 2021 at the request of Netanyahu's lawyers and with reference to the coronavirus.

Political positions

Peace process

Netanyahu is against Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories in the West Bank because he sees it as a repetition of the disengagement plan, which he believes was a mistake. Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 contributed neither to the peace nor to the security of Israel. Netanyahu supports a two-state solution only to a limited extent. In a cabinet meeting in 2009 he announced that he would insist on the recognition of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state should there be any future steps towards peace with moderate negotiating partners. Netanyahu also rules out the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Instead, he believes that all Jewish settlers should be integrated into a future Palestinian state. In 2014, Netanyahu once again recognized a Palestinian state only under certain conditions. In 2016 he reaffirmed this position on his YouTube channel by describing the evacuation of Jewish settlements as "ethnic cleansing". According to this, Jewish settlers in the West Bank are not an obstacle to peace, just as Arab residents of Israel are not an obstacle to peace, but rather demonstrate Israel's readiness for peace. Netanyahu claims he envisions a Middle East where Jews and Arabs would coexist peacefully.

In 2020, Netanyahu supported a peace plan by US President Donald Trump that did not involve the Palestinian Authority .

death penalty

Netanyahu promotes the use of the death penalty as a tool in the fight against terrorism. In January 2018, a corresponding draft law was passed by a narrow majority in the Israeli parliament.


  • (as editor, with Iddo Netanyahu) Self-Portrait of a Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963–1976). Random House, New York 1980, ISBN 978-0-394-51376-8 .
  • (as editor) International Terrorism: Challenge and Response. The Jonathan Institute, Jerusalem 1980, ISBN 978-0-87855-894-0 .
  • (as editor) Terrorism: How the West Can Win. Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York 1986, ISBN 978-0-374-27342-2 .
  • A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World. Bantam Books, 1993, ISBN 978-0-553-08974-5 .
  • Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York 1995, ISBN 978-0-374-15492-9 .
  • German edition: The new terror: How the democratic states can fight terrorism. Bertelsmann, Munich 1996, ISBN 978-3-570-12269-3 .


Literature and web links

Commons : Benjamin Netanyahu  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dusiznies: Rare View: Bibi Netanyahu's Chareidie Daughter gives birth to a girl. In: Rare View. February 17, 2016, accessed April 11, 2019 .
  2. Michael Barbaro: A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012, in: New York Times of April 7, 2012, accessed on July 24, 2014 (English)
  3. a b Benjamin Netanyahu, on the Jewish Agency website, accessed July 24, 2014
  4. Serge Schmemann: Israeli Opposition Chief Making Comeback, in: New York Times of March 30, 1996, accessed on July 24, 2014 (English)
  5. Jedi'ot Acharonot, June 13, 2006
  6. (link not available)
  7. Survey: ruling party would be halved in elections. In: . April 9, 2007, accessed January 10, 2017 .
  8. The Team Is More Important Than the Leader Haaretz May 9, 2007
  9. - The falcon flies on: Likud elects Netanyahu from August 15, 2007
  10. Susanne Knaul: Israel: Likud moves further to the right. In: . August 16, 2007, accessed January 10, 2017 .
  11. Netanyahu Takes Over Government Formation in Israel , from Reuters , February 20, 2009.
  12. New Israeli government sworn in , Die Welt
  13. Netanyahu introduces mammoth government ,, April 1, 2009
  14. Government 32
  15. Netanyahu rolls up its sleeves , Wiener Zeitung, April 2, 2009
  16. Netanyahu for the Palestinian state subject to conditions at, June 14, 2009.
  17. Speech on Middle East Policy: Netanyahu's Conditions for a Palestinian State ( Memento from June 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) at, June 15, 2009
  18. Gisela Dachs: Protest: Israel's silent majority rebels. In: . August 1, 2011, accessed January 10, 2017 .
  19. Israel: Protests are expanding , ORF from July 30, 2011 ( Memento from February 9, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  21. ^ Benjamin Netanyahu's blame Holocaust on Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini . The Independent, October 21, 2015
  22. Netanyahu: Hitler Didn't Want to Exterminate the Jews. In: Haaretz . Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd., October 21, 2015, accessed on October 22, 2015 (English): “The claim that Husseini was the one to initiate the extermination of European Jewry had been suggested by a number of historians at the fringes of Holocaust research , but was rejected by most accepted scholars. "
  23. Boris Kálnoky: Netanyahu - “The EU's behavior towards Israel is crazy” , July 19, 2017 on N24 online
  25. ^ Elisabeth Katalin Grabow: Urgent appeal at the end of the state visit: Hungary's Jews feel abandoned by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu , 20. July 2017 on Jewish General Online .
  26. Netanyahu complains about the EU , July 19, 2017 on sü online
  27. Netanyahu describes the EU's Israel policy as “absolutely crazy” , July 19, 2017 on online
  28. kle / sti: Israel and the European Union , July 19, 2017 on Deutsche Welle online
  29. Netanyahu's political struggle for survival - against his own judiciary
  30. Bayit Yehudi, Otzma Yehudit agree to run on one list - Israel Elections - Jerusalem Post. Retrieved February 22, 2019 .
  31. World News: 1,200 hidden cameras seized from Israeli polling stations as Netanyahu defends Likud move ( en ) In: RT . [1200 caméras cachées saisies dans les bureaux de vote israéliens alors que Netanyahou défend le mouvement du Likud]. April 9, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  32. TOI Staff: Hidden cameras in Arab voting booths were Netanyahu's idea - TV report ( en ) In: The Times of Israel . [Hidden cameras in Arab voting booths were the idea of ​​Netanyahu - TV report]. April 23, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  33. Haaretz: Final Election Results: Bennett Wiped Out; Netanyahu's Likud Gains One Seat ( en ) In: Haaretz . [Results finaux des elections: Bennett anéanti; Le Likud de Netanyahu gagne un siège]. April 12, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  34. Raoul Wootliff: Netanyahu a gagné, tous les autres ont perdu - ou presque ( fr ) In: The Times of Israel . [Netanyahu won, everyone else lost - or almost]. April 10, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  35. Weeks later, the election winner Netanyahu turns into a loser
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  37. Israel: Netanyahu fails to form a government and gives back mandate . In: Spiegel Online . October 21, 2019 ( [accessed October 21, 2019]).
  38. Netanyahu re-elected as Likud boss. Retrieved December 27, 2019 .
  39. ↑ Suspected corruption: Police question Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In: Spiegel Online . January 2, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017 .
  40. dpa: Background: The corruption allegations against Netanyahu | Retrieved February 28, 2019 .
  41. Israeli media: Police recommend charges against Netanyahu. Retrieved February 28, 2019 .
  42. ZEIT ONLINE: Israel: Police recommend charges against Netanyahu . In: The time . December 2, 2018, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed February 28, 2019]).
  43. Netanyahu under suspicion of corruption, in: Badische Zeitung, February 15, 2018
  44. Israel's Prime Minister: Netanyahu should be charged with corruption . Welt Online, February 28, 2019.
  45. Natael Bandel: Netanyahu Charged With Bribery, Fraud and Breach of Trust, Capping a Dramatic Political Year. In: Haaretz . November 21, 2019, accessed November 21, 2019 .
  46. Netanyahu charged on three counts. , January 28, 2020, accessed on February 8, 2020 .
  47. Netanyahu speaks of a conspiracy. , May 24, 2020, accessed on May 24, 2020 .
  48. Trial against Netanyahu adjourned after an hour , Deutschlandfunk, May 25, 2020.
  49. ^ Benjamin Hammer, ARD-Studio Tel Aviv: Partial success for Netanyahu. In: Tagesschau. July 19, 2020, accessed August 16, 2020 .
  50. Barak Ravid: Netanyahu: I Won't Repeat Gaza Evacuation Mistake. In: Haaretz. August 9, 2009, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  51. Netanyahu: Pulling out of Gaza was a mistake. In: jungewelt. August 10, 2009, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  52. Aron Heller: ISRAELI OFFICIAL: PALESTINE SHOULD ALLOW SETTLERS. In: AP. January 26, 2014, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  53. Benjamin Netanyahu: NO JEWS. In: Youtube. September 9, 2016, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  54. Thilo Kößler: Trump's Middle East Plan. In: deutschlandfunk. January 29, 2020, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  55. Israel wants to facilitate the death penalty for terrorists. January 3, 2018, accessed May 16, 2021 .
  56. Brazilian President Bolsonaro honors Netanyahu. In: Israelnetz .de. January 2, 2019, accessed January 18, 2019 .
  57. Bolsonaro concede Ordem Nacional do Cruzeiro do Sul a Netanyahu. In: Veja . January 18, 2019, accessed January 18, 2019 (Brazilian Portuguese).