World news

The far right, big winner of the elections in Israel

Bibi, or the art of return. After a year and a half on the benches of the opposition, Benyamin Netanyahou is preparing to return to his post of Prime Minister, a seat he held for twelve years. “It took him five elections in two years to secure a majority”, observes Gideon Rahat, a member of the Israel Institute for Democracy. After the counting of almost all the ballots, his bloc was credited, Wednesday, November 2, with 65 seats out of the 120 that make up the Knesset.

This majority, he owes in large part to the impressive breakthrough of his ally from the radical right, the religious Zionist Party, led by Bezalel Smotrich, and his sulphurous running mate Itamar Ben Gvir. By doubling the number of seats obtained in 2021 – from six deputies to 14 – it has established itself as the third political force in the country. “The center of the Israeli political map has shifted completely to the right », Analyzes Gideon Rahat. By getting closer to an extreme right capable of taking advantage of the tensions between Jews and Arabs, and the resulting feeling of insecurity, Benyamin Netanyahu saw the way to differentiate himself against the government of Yaïr Lapid.

A winning bet since the latter, whose Yesh Atid party is nevertheless progressing compared to the previous ballot by going from 17 to 24 seats, has not succeeded in imposing its “anti-Netanyahu” line, nor in forming a united bloc. The diversity of the lists, ranging from the center right to the left, passing through the Arab parties, as well as the internal divisions within these parties did not convince the Israelis. The latter were 71.3% to vote on Tuesday 1er November, a figure not seen since 2015.

“New political reality”

“Democracies and their parliaments are only representative of people who express themselves through the vote, said Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset. This election, with its high turnout, testifies to the creation of a new political reality, where religious fundamentalism and nationalism have taken their place in society. Israeli. »

Emblematic of this development is the career of Itamar Ben Gvir, a rising star in Israeli politics. This openly racist Jewish supremacist is heir to Kahanism, a political formation considered terrorist by the United States. Scrapped from Israeli politics two years ago, Itamar Ben Gvir is about to be offered the post of public security minister. It’s a paradox when you know that hedid not perform his military service,‘army considering him too radical’, emphasizes Frédérique Schillo, historian specializing in Israel, based in Jerusalem.

Inexorable trivialization

At the end of the day on Wednesday, part of the Israeli Arabs, who represent 20% of the population and whose participation can make a difference, still hoped that the small Arab party Balad, nationalist and anti-Zionist, would create a surprise. By crossing the fateful bar of 3.25% of the votes, he would be able to stay in the Knesset, while depriving the Netanyahu bloc of its majority.

If the official results will only be known during the day on Thursday, and even if the balance were changed, the underlying trend would remain the same: the inexorable trivialization of a racist and supremacist extreme right in Israel.


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