Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will seek a fourth term in office whenever the next general election will be held, he announced Saturday night in an interview with Channel 1.
There has been speculation about the prime minister’s political future since he started facing increasing criticism from potential rivals and after satisfaction with him fell by 50 percent in just over a month in Channel 2’s polls. But Netanyahu, who will turn 65 in October, put that speculation to rest.
“I don’t think there is a need to advance elections but when they come, I will be there,” Netanyahu told interviewer Ya’acov Ahimeir.
“Likud members and the public in general appreciates leadership that ignores the background noise and stays on target. I hope [my running again] does not make anyone sour.”
Netanyahu referred to criticism from security cabinet members in the interview when he said that he and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had “acted responsibly without regard to polls and which way the wind is blowing.”
A source close to Netanyahu said he has not taken polls recently.
The prime minister is expected to face criticism from Likud activists at an upcoming meeting of the Likud central committee that will be held in rocket-stricken Ashkelon. How he is received there is expected to be a bellwether of his support in the party.
Ben Caspit, a columnist at The Jerusalem Post’s sister paper, Ma’ariv, reported Friday that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, had defended him in a private conversation last month with a former leader from the South by praising his leadership on an international scale.
“If he would have been born in America, he could easily have been president of the United States today,” she said in the taped-conversation, according to the report. “He is admired around the world.”
Netanyahu spent much of his young adult life in the US and attended high school outside Philadelphia, but was born in Tel Aviv.
A source close to the prime minister and his family responded to a request for confirmation by saying, “Those words were not said by the prime minister’s wife.”