Netanyahu returns to lead Israel's most right-wing government

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Netanyahu returns as head of Israel’s rightmost government

The return of Benjamin Netanyahu as head of the Israeli government is causing concern in the country.

After a break in the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power on Thursday by forming the most right-wing government in the history of Israel which is already causing serious concern.

Winner of the legislative elections of November 1, Mr. Netanyahu had presented his ministerial team to the deputies in the morning, before the holding in the afternoon of a vote of confidence won by a majority of 63 elected on the 120 of Parliament and his taking the oath.

Mr. Netanyahu notably announced the appointment of former Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen as head of Foreign Affairs. The day before, he had indicated that Yoav Gallant, a former senior officer considered close to the pro-colonization movement in the occupied West Bank, was going to obtain the Defense.

The government's mission will be to thwart Iran's efforts to build a nuclear arsenal, to ensure Israel's military superiority in the region, while expanding the circle of peace with the Arab countries, declared Mr. Netanyahu, who must convene his first ministerial cabinet in Jerusalem on Thursday evening.

Indicted for corruption in several cases, the leader of the Likud (right ) was ousted from power in June 2021 by a ragtag coalition before promising a return to business by allying with ultra-Orthodox and far-right parties.

Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government.

His coalition notably includes Religious Zionism of Bezalel Smotrich and Jewish Force of Itamar Ben Gvir, known for their anti-Palestinian remarks and their positions favorable to the annexation of part of the West Bank, and Noam of Avi Maoz, openly anti-LGBTQ.

Despite the presence of this party in the government, the deputies elected Amir Ohana as speaker of the Parliament, a first in this country for an openly homosexual deputy.

Hundreds of people , many of whom were flying the rainbow flag or showing sympathy for the Palestinians, were protesting outside parliament on Thursday against the new government.

This is the darkest, most racist, evilest government we could ever imagine, said Niv, a protester at the scene.

For Amir Sasson, a 51-year-old trader from central Israel, the new government must be given a chance to prove itself. Of course, there are very important issues, particularly in the area of ​​Israel's internal security, which must be improved as soon as possible, he said.

In this new government, MM. Smotrich and Ben Gvir are respectively responsible for the settlements in the West Bank and the Israeli police, units of which also operate in this Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel.

Demonstrations took place on Thursday, in front of the Israeli parliament, against the inauguration of the new government. judges and a politicization of law enforcement that would deal a serious blow to the most fundamental principles of the rule of law.

And Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said he was worried about the creation of a second cabinet post, that of Mr Smotrich, within Defense to oversee the civilian management of the West Bank.

For many analysts, Mr. Netanyahu multiplied concessions to his partners in the hope of obtaining a judicial immunity or the annulment of his trial for corruption.

This government is the addition of the political weakness of Netanyahu, given his age and his trial, and the fact that we have a new political family, linked to the revolutionary right, that the government we had never seen with this force in Israel, explains Denis Charbit, professor of political science at the Open University of Israel.

MM. Smotrich and Ben Gvir, who want above all to strengthen colonization in the West Bank, Palestinian territory where more than 475,000 Jewish settlers already live, have a very strong thirst for power and they know that what they do not get three months, six months or even two years from now will not happen, Mr. Charbit adds.

In the wake of the latest Hamas/Israel war in Gaza in May 2021 and recent violence in the West Bank, the most serious since the end of the Second Intifada (from 2000 to 2005), the fear of a military escalation with the Palestinians is very present.

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Palestinian Hamas fighters.

There are many red lines: Al-Aqsa, the annexation of the West Bank, the status of Palestinian prisoners [in Israel]… If Ben Gvir, as minister, goes to Al-Aqsa, it will be a big red line to cross and it will lead to an explosion, says Basem Naim, senior Hamas politician.

Mr. Ben Gvir has already visited the Esplanade des Mosques (Temple Mount for Jews) in recent months, a holy place at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian tensions in East Jerusalem.

< p class="e-p">Under a historical status quo, non-Muslims can go there, but not pray there. However, the visit of a serving Israeli minister to this site would be perceived as provocation among Palestinians.

If the government acts irresponsibly, it could cause a security crisis, outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.

The President Russian Vladimir Putin welcomed the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to the head of the Israeli government and said he wanted to strengthen cooperation with Israel in all areas.

I hope that the new government under your leadership will continue the line of strengthening Russian-Israeli cooperation in all areas for the benefit of our peoples, in the interest of ensuring peace and security. in the Middle East region, Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin.

In Russia, your personal contribution and long years of building up friendly relations between our countries, the master of the Kremlin underlined, while Mr. Netanyahu called the Russian leader a friend on several occasions in the past.

Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Vladimir Putin.

After the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine last February, Israel had adopted a cautious position with regard to Moscow, seeking to maintain neutrality.

Israel had in particular argues special ties between the two countries, with the Jewish state having more than a million citizens from the former Soviet Union and Russia having troops in neighboring Syria. ;Israel.

US President Joe Biden also congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he calls a longtime friend.

The United States will continue to support a two-state solution and oppose policies that threaten life. ability or contradict our shared interests and values,” Biden said in a White House statement.

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