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Israel on its way to the most radical government in its history


Special correspondence

A year and a half after being ousted from office by the most diverse coalition in Israel’s history, the indefatigable Benyamin Netanyahu is back at the head of a coalition which announces itself as the more radical. The final count, made official on Thursday November 3, credits his bloc with a majority of 64 seats out of 120 (32 for the Likud, 18 for the Orthodox parties and a record 14 seats for the far right). A score that leaves him enough leeway to build a “nationalist government that will take care of all the citizens of Israel, without exception”, he promised on election night.

Israel: Benyamin Netanyahu and his allies obtain a majority in the Knesset

On the strength of these results, the former (and probable future) prime minister did not wait for the official approval of President Isaac Herzog to begin discussions with a view to building his next government. A subtle art where loyalty is bought with ministerial portfolios. Objective: reach a coalition agreement as soon as possible. By November 15 as much as possible.

“The true masters of this land”

According to the arithmetic of the elections, four parties should compose the next coalition. Three are religious. Two of them are ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that exclude women from their parliamentary lists. The third, the Religious Zionist Party, is an amalgamation of three far-right formations respectively led by outspoken settler Bezalel Smotrich, openly racist Jewish supremacist Itamar Ben Gvir, and anti-LGBT Avi Maoz who calls for the removal of the Gay Pride of Jerusalem.

The far right, big winner of the elections in Israel

From the infrequent margins of Israeli politics to the center of the game in the space of two years, the Religious Zionist Party has doubled the number of its seats in Parliament, giving its majority to Binyamin Netanyahu. Today, this party is calling for ministries accordingly. Ben Gvir thus lobbied for public security, promising to “show the Arabs who are the true masters of this land”. A real headache for Netanyahu, who will have to compose without jeopardizing the legitimacy of his government, especially vis-à-vis an international community sensitive to the fate of the Palestinians. Already, the Israeli press is worried about potential economic sanctions.

In the Knesset, the disappearance of women

As a clever politician, “Benyamin Netanyahu has always preferred to govern by surrounding himself with at least one moderate party” , explains Denis Charbit, professor of political science at the Open University of Israel. But, after sixteen months in opposition limbo, and with his ongoing corruption trial, he could this time prefer this radical coalition. It’s pragmatism that dominates, says columnist Jacques Benillouche, a wise commentator on Israeli political life: “Netanyahu has stood with politicians whom he has always fought, but he needed their votes to escape his corruption trial. »

Binyamin Netanyahu, the thirst for power and the threat of prison

Its allies, led by Bezalel Smotrich, indeed support a reform of the Israeli judicial system which would be favorable to it, at the risk of severely reducing the contours of Israeli democracy. The idea is to allow the government to appoint the judges of the Supreme Court, and restrict the possibility of censoring laws passed in the Knesset, making it impossible to prosecute parliamentarians. Enough to end the trial against Benyamin Netanyahu.

While the previous coalition had about thirty women, they would be only nine in the one that is emerging, the most radical and religious ever known in Israel. “Certainly, it is homogeneous on the ideological levelpoints out Denis Charbit, but Netanyahu may find it difficult to domesticate it. »


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