Will Bennett surpass his former mentor Netanyahu? | Benjamin Netanyahu

The Netanyahu family has extensive experience in moving their belongings out of the official prime minister’s residence on Belfort Street in Jerusalem. In 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of shocked settlers that they had been expelled from their homes at Amona, an illegal outpost in the West Bank, “I understand what it means to lose their homes. After the 1999 general election, there was no warning. Under the circumstances, my family and I were simply driven out of the house on Balfour Street. In this way, with all our belongings, we were thrown into the street. We had to go to the Sheraton Plaza Hotel and it felt terrible.”

The Likud Group won 19 parliamentary seats in the 1999 elections, 7 fewer than the Labor Party led by Ehud Barak. The Barak government, like the government sworn in on June 13, is a diversified coalition of political parties, with Meretz on the left, Hammerkaz in the middle, and ultra-Orthodox parties on the right. The partnership lasted for less than two years.

What can this short-lived government teach us about the future of the new Israeli government led by Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid Party leader Yail Rapide? What are the prospects for their pluralistic coalition of conservative Jewish right-wing parties, whose leaders are committed to the cause of settlements, and the legislators of the Meretz Party that make settlement commodities? Can fierce feminist activist and Labour Party chairman Melaf Mikkeli get along with Ayelet Shakerd, the conservative interior minister who promised to expel asylum seekers and their families?

The cards in the hands of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett are much worse than those that Barak got in 1999. First, there has never been an Israeli prime minister, nor has there been any leader of a democratic country, and its party only won 6% of the vote (transformed into 7 seats out of 120 parliamentarians, one of whom opposes the new government). Bennett is the default option and the best of the three very imperfect alternatives. The other two are Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued rule after 12 years in power, or it is generally expected that the fifth round of elections will be Perpetuate the political deadlock. Therefore, the composition and guidelines of the new government are not ideal for its left-wing or right-wing components.

Bennett and Yisrael Beitenu Party leader Avigdor Lieberman and New Hope Party Chairman Gideon Saar sat with their former Likud colleagues than with representatives of the Labour Party, Merez and Palestine Ra’am (United Arab Emirates) Feel more at home. List) parties. What the new government has in common is the disgust of Netanyahu’s personality and the prosecution of corruption allegations.

The center-right partners of the new government are aligned with his ideology and foreign and national defense policies. It is speculated that if Netanyahu relinquishes his leadership over Likud, or if his party colleagues muster the courage to oust him, many people in the new government will negotiate with Likud for partnership. relationship.

However, Netanyahu declared war on his successor even before he started packing up and moving to the opposition bench. Netanyahu in 2021 is different from the young prime minister who was defeated 22 years ago who took a vacation from politics. This time, he was supported by the army of enthusiastic supporters and an army of violent robots.

In the last days of the government, as the land under their feet burned, the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox parties and their rabbis joined the choir that incited the opposition to Bennett. The language they use and the threat of hell are reminiscent of the atmosphere a few months before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995.

One of the first challenges for the new government will be to extinguish these flames, restore trust in the country’s legal system, police, and media, and work hard to instill respect for diversity.

The designers of the weird Bennett-Lapid alliance knew very well that the opposition would find cracks in its building and place explosives to blow it up. These explosives include legislation on highly sensitive issues, such as the relationship between religion and the state, the annexation of Palestinian territories, LGBTQ rights, and the recognition of progressive streams of Judaism that challenge the monopoly of ultra-orthodox institutions.

In order to eliminate these time bombs, the alliance agreement maintains the status quo on each issue. However, Netanyahu has a new type of TNT available to him, in the form of the ultra-nationalist Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir and his small circle of Arab haters. Ben Gavill was elected to the Knesset with the support of Netanyahu this year and used his parliamentary immunity to undermine the status quo in the most unstable place-the Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. Netanyahu can rely on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to respond to Bengueville’s provocations.

If members of the Knesset visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount compound, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and launch a rocket from Gaza to Jerusalem, what will Bennett do? Will the two Arab members of the new government, Islamist Ram Chairman Mansour Abbas and Meretz’s Minister of Regional Cooperation Issavi Frege vote for revenge against Gaza and the killing of Palestinian civilians? If the Israelis were killed in the Hamas attack, would Lieberman and Thrall vote for restraint?

Will Bennett, who firmly supports the settlement, respect the court ruling and demolish 40 houses in Evyatar, an illegal outpost in the West Bank? How will he operate between the pressure from the US government and the Palestinians’ diplomatic negotiations on a two-state solution, the center-left partners who support the establishment of a Palestinian state, and his own statement of strong opposition, not to mention dissatisfaction with the Palestinians His right-wing party partner?

Negotiations with Iran on a new nuclear agreement are another obstacle facing the new government, which will force it to make extremely difficult decisions. If he insists on Netanyahu’s aggressive policy of opposing the agreement, Bennett will clashed with the Biden administration, which will be in power during his two-year term. On the other hand, if the government agrees to the policies of the Biden administration, Netanyahu is likely to launch a public campaign accusing the new government of “abandoning the Jews for the second massacre”.

During his long reign, Netanyahu was considered a tightrope magician without a safety net. Bennett observed his performance up close when he was chief of staff as the leader of the opposition from 2006 to 2008. In order to start repairing some of the damage Netanyahu has caused to Israeli society in power long enough, Bennett must surpass his former master.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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