Netanyahu forms far-right Israeli coalition government

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to return to power after 18 months in opposition, after announcing a series of deals with the fascistic Religious Zionism Party and the ultra-orthodox religious parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ).

Former Israeli Prime Minister and the head of Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara gesture after first exit poll results for the Israeli Parliamentary election at his party’s headquarters in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. [AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov]

Having pushed Israeli politics to the right during his 15 years of premiership, he will now head the most right-wing government in Israel’s 75-year history. It will empower the violent, racist and fascist forces seeking to incite political violence against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and within Israel, cement Israel’s Jewish Supremacy policy enshrined in its 2018 Nation-State law and clamp down on Jewish workers opposing its policies.

It puts paid to the claim that Israel is “the only democracy” in the Middle East. The inclusion of Religious Zionism makes explicit what was always implicit: Israel’s government will be committed to Jewish Supremacy and apartheid rule, the annexation of large swaths of the occupied West Bank illegally occupied since the Arab Israeli war of 1967, the expansion of settlements illegal even under current Israeli law and Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque.

Netanyahu tweeted triumphantly, “I got it,” on Wednesday night, just minutes before the deadline for forming a new government following the fifth elections in less than four years on November 1. It is expected that the new government, which will have a majority of four, will be sworn in early in the new year.

The election, the fifth in four years, was precipitated by the collapse last June of the fragile coalition headed by Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett of eight parties united only by opposition to the scandal-ridden Netanyahu. Their “government of change” that included Labour and Meretz—both ostensibly committed to a Palestinian statelet alongside Israel—paved the way for the rise of the far-right Religious Zionism. It presided over more killings of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories than at any time since 2005, escalated Israel’s covert wars against Iran and its allies, lifted all measures aimed at restricting the spread of the pandemic and did nothing to alleviate social inequality—one of the highest in the OECD group of advanced countries.

Netanyahu, currently in court on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases, brokered an electoral alliance of the three far-right parties—Religious Zionism, Jewish Power and Noam—to bolster its vote in the November 1 election because of its willingness to introduce a law preventing a sitting prime minister from being indicted while in office. Religious Zionism won 10 percent of the vote and 14 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset, enabling Netanyahu to form a 64-seat coalition, the largest majority for any government since 2018.


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