Israel approves new government, ending Netanyahu’s 12-year rule
Jerusalem (AP)-The Knesset approved a new coalition government on Sunday. After a record 12 years in power and a political crisis that triggered four elections in two years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered Up the opposition.
Naftali Bennett, the leader of a small ultra-nationalist political party, was sworn in as prime minister after passing the parliament by a thin vote of 60 to 59. But if he wants to keep this job, he will have to maintain a clumsy coalition of political right, left and center parties.
Eight parties, including a small Arab faction that made history by sitting in the ruling coalition, united in opposition to Netanyahu and the new elections, but reached little agreement in other areas. They may pursue a moderate agenda It aims to reduce tensions with the Palestinians and maintain good relations with the United States without launching any major initiatives.
Netanyahu sat silently during the voting. After getting approval, he got up and left the meeting, then turned around and shook hands with Bennett. The frustrated Netanyahu wore a black medical mask and sat down briefly on the chair of the opposition leader before going out.
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, is still the leader of the largest party in parliament and is expected to vigorously oppose the new government. If only one faction collapses, it may lose its majority and face the risk of collapse, thereby providing him with the opportunity to regain power.
Bennett’s speech to Parliament before the vote vividly demonstrated the country’s deep differences. He was repeatedly interrupted and questioned loudly by Netanyahu’s supporters, some of whom were escorted out of the conference hall.
Bennett’s speech mainly focused on domestic issues, but he expressed opposition to the United States’ efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.
“Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” Bennett said, vowing to maintain Netanyahu’s confrontational policy. “Israel will not become a party to the agreement and will continue to maintain full freedom of movement.”
Nevertheless, Bennett thanked President Joe Biden and the United States for supporting Israel over the decades.
Netanyahu spoke behind him, vowing to return to power. He predicted that the incoming government will have a weak attitude towards Iran and will succumb to the United States’ demands to make concessions to the Palestinians.
He said: “If we are destined to become the opposition, we will come forward until we overthrow this dangerous government and re-lead the country.”
Yohanan Plesner, director of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the new government may be more stable than it seems.
“Even if its majority seats are very limited, it is difficult to overthrow and replace it because the opposition has no cohesion,” he said. Everyone in the alliance wants to prove that they can do it, and for this they need “time and achievement.”
Nonetheless, Netanyahu “will continue to be overshadowed,” Presner said. He hopes that the incoming opposition leader will take advantage of the incident and propose legislation that members of the right-wing coalition want to support but cannot support—all to embarrass them and undermine them.
At the same time, the new government promised that after four elections, the 11-day war in Gaza, and the outbreak of a coronavirus that destroyed the economy, it will return to normal after two turbulent years before passing a successful vaccination campaign. The degree is under control.
The driving force behind the alliance is the political centrist Yair Lapid, who will become prime minister within two years if the government lasts that long.
He canceled his original speech to the parliament, but said he was ashamed that his 86-year-old mother had to witness the noisy behavior of his opponent. In a short speech, he asked “my mother’s forgiveness.”
“I hope she is proud of the democratic process in Israel. On the contrary, she and every Israeli citizen are ashamed of you and clearly remember why it is time to replace you,” he said.
The new government is expected to win a small majority in the 120-member parliament, after which it will be sworn in. The government plans to hold its first formal meeting later tonight.
It is not clear when Netanyahu will move out of his residence. He lashed out at the new government with apocalyptic words He also accused Bennett of deceiving voters by campaigning as a right-wing stalwart and then cooperating with the left.
Netanyahu’s supporters staged angry protests outside the homes of rival lawmakers, saying they received death threats by naming their families. Earlier this month, Israel’s Sinbet internal security service issued a rare public warning about this incitement, saying it could lead to violence.
Netanyahu condemned the incitement and pointed out that he was also a target.
His position in Israel’s history is solid, and he has served as prime minister for a total of 15 years—more than anyone else, including the country’s founder David Ben-Gurion.
Netanyahu began his long-term rule. He defied the Obama administration and refused to freeze settlement construction because it tried to revive the peace process but failed. When Netanyahu vigorously opposed the impending nuclear agreement between President Barack Obama and Iran, relations with Israel’s closest ally became more unstable, even condemning it in a speech to the US Congress.
But he suffered almost no consequences from these conflicts, and he received generous returns from the Trump administration, which recognized the disputed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, helped to facilitate normalization agreements with four Arab countries, and allowed the United States to Withdraw from the Iran agreement.
Netanyahu portrayed himself as a world-class politician, boasting of his close relationship with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also established ties with Arab and African countries that have long avoided Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
However, he was coldly treated by the Biden administration and was widely regarded as undermining the long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.
In China, his reputation as a political magician gradually faded, becoming a polarized figure. Critics say that his long-standing strategy of divide and rule has exacerbated the rift between Jews and Arabs in Israeli society and between his ultra-Orthodox allies and secular Jews.
In November 2019, he was prosecuted for fraud, breach of trust and bribery.He rejected the call to step down, instead lashing out at the media, judicial and law enforcement agencies, and even Accused his political opponents of planning an attempted coupLast year, protesters began holding weekly rallies across the country, calling on him to resign.
Netanyahu is still popular among the hardline nationalists who dominate Israeli politics, but he may soon face leadership challenges from within his party. A less polarized Likud leader is likely to form a coalition that is more right-handed and more stable than the government that is about to be sworn in.