January 30, 2023

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Israel: Netanyahu Installs Right-Wing Religious Government | Politics

Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu (73) has succeeded in forming a right-wing religious coalition government.

The head of the conservative Likud party announced this to President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday evening, shortly before the deadline. The new government should take office by January 2. Negotiations between prospective allies were still ongoing.

The soon-to-be ruling parties have pledged to improve the country’s internal security amid a wave of terrorism, curb the rising cost of living and counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

In addition to Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party, the far-right Religious-Zionist Alliance and two hardline religious parties will be represented in the coalition. It is the most right-wing government Israel has ever had.

The new government wants to make massive political changes. They may help Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption process.

Netanyahu’s camp won 64 out of 120 seats in the November 1 election. This is Israel’s fifth election in three and a half years. The former long-serving prime minister returns to power after a year and a half in opposition. In the history of Israel, no one has held office longer than him. The conservative politician was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999 and then again from 2009 to 2021.

When he was replaced last year, the Netanyahu era was initially thought to be over. However, the eight-party coalition of his successors broke up in June due to disputes. The Liberal Future Party of outgoing Prime Minister Jair Lapid, 59, came second with 24 seats.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Jair Lapid and Bezalel Smodrich (from left) in the Knesset on November 15.

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

Netanyahu’s far-right ally Bezalel Smodrich, 42, announced a radical plan before the election that could also overturn the case against Netanyahu. He wants to substantially rebuild the judicial system. Smodrich is also considered an advocate for settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

Fatah, which dominates the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, hold no parliamentary elections but rule without democratic legitimacy. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four-year term nearly 18 years ago and is still in office…

(bw/dpa)

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