World News

Coalition agreement brings Netanyahu to the brink of power in Israel

Coalition agreement brings Netanyahu to the brink of power in Israel

#Coalition #agreement #brings #Netanyahu #brink #power #Israel Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

Click Me To View Restricted Videos

JERUSALEM — Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, announced Wednesday that he has managed to form a coalition government that aims to return him to head the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

Once finalized and ratified by Parliament in the coming days, the coalition deal will see Mr Netanyahu back in office just 18 months after his departure. His reliance on far-right factions has already raised concerns that Israel is drifting away from liberal democracy.

Mr. Netanyahu will lead an uncompromising six-party coalition whose members seek to overhaul the justice system, reduce Palestinian autonomy in the occupied West Bank, further strengthen Israel’s Jewish character, and maximize state support for the most religious Jews.

After five elections in four years of political disruption, the deal aims to give Israel an ideologically coherent government for the first time since 2019. However, analysts say this will not necessarily ensure political stability. Despite their relative homogeneity, coalition members were often at odds on policy during negotiations, taking more than six weeks to formalize their partnership.

In a sign of difficulties in reaching an agreement, Mr Netanyahu announced the deal just minutes before midnight on Wednesday night.

The formation of the coalition also puts the country on a constitutional showdown between the government and the judiciary.

The government is led by a prime minister, Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption. Mr Netanyahu denies any intention of using his office to influence the process. But other members of his coalition have pledged to legalize some of the crimes he is accused of and reduce the influence of the attorney general overseeing his prosecution.

Last week, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara accused Mr Netanyahu’s bloc of trying to turn Israel into a “democracy in name, not in essence.” Her comments followed coalition efforts to expand government control over the police – and allow Mr Netanyahu’s pick for the interior ministry to take office despite a recent suspended sentence for tax fraud.

Coalition lawmakers have also proposed curbing the influence of the Supreme Court, reducing judicial scrutiny of its decisions in Parliament and potentially making it easier for the government to enact laws previously considered unconstitutional.

The Israeli right has long portrayed the Supreme Court as an unelected body that unfairly defies elected governments, while the court’s supporters see it as a bulwark against the erosion of liberal democratic values ​​and minority rights.

Mr Netanyahu has dismissed these concerns and has promised to rein in his partners and take a cautious approach to judicial reform.

“I’m the opposite of a strong man – I believe in democracies and obviously in the balance between the three branches of government,” Mr Netanyahu said in a recent interview with Honestly, an American podcast.

Mr Netanyahu added: “That balance has been upset in many ways in Israel by the rise of the uncontrolled judiciary, and rectifying it does not destroy democracy – it protects it.”

The relationship between the new government and the military will be an early test of Mr Netanyahu’s approach.

The announcement raises the likelihood of tensions between the government and large sections of the Jewish diaspora. Many liberal-minded Jews outside Israel have expressed skepticism about Mr Netanyahu’s new partners in recent weeks.

Several lawmakers in the new coalition have long criticized non-Orthodox movements in Judaism, to which the majority of American Jews belong.

Although Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party is largely secular, the other parties in his coalition are all religious, and two of them represent ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israelis, or Haredim. Once kingmakers in both the right-wing and left-wing coalitions, ultra-Orthodox politicians have gradually become staunch supporters of Mr Netanyahu in exchange for his promise to maintain the autonomy of the Haredi school system and subsidies for its students.

Future ministers in Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet also include several far-right Jewish settlers who have a history of homophobia, antagonism toward Israel’s Arab minority, and opposition to secular aspects of public life.

One, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was barred from serving in the Israeli army because he was considered too extremist. He admires an uncompromising rabbi who wanted to strip Arab Israelis of citizenship, and for years displayed in his home a portrait of an extremist Jewish settler who shot 29 Palestinians in a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994.

Despite criminal convictions for inciting racism and supporting a terrorist group, Mr Ben-Gvir is set to become Minister of National Security and oversee the police.

Another extremist in the alliance, Bezalel Smotrich, has previously expressed support for the segregation of Jews and Arabs in Israeli maternity wards, for Israel to be governed under Torah law, and for Jewish real estate developers not to sell land to Arabs. Mr. Smotrich was promised the Treasury; his party will also monitor parts of the occupation in the West Bank.

Their rise reflects a long-term rightward drift within Israeli society that began decades ago and accelerated after the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in the early 2000s. A wave of Palestinian violence at the time led many Israelis to the right-wing argument that the Palestinians were not serious about peace.

The emergence of the far right also reflects more recent concerns about perceived threats to Israel’s Jewish identity, exacerbated by a spate of violence between Arabs and Jews last year.

These fears were also heightened when Mr Netanyahu’s opponents formed a government with an independent Arab party last June, an unprecedented decision in Israeli history. This diverse alliance put aside its differences solely to oust Mr Netanyahu from power, which led to his resignation for the first time since 2009.

But the heterogeneity of the outgoing coalition was also its downfall. The involvement of Arab lawmakers helped boost the popularity of Israel’s far right, and their lack of cohesion made governing difficult, leading to a collapse in the summer.

This set the stage for elections on November 1, Israel’s fifth since 2019, and allowed Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc to win a slim majority.

Isabel Kershner contributed to the coverage.

Click Here To Continue Reading From Source

Related Articles

Back to top button