Jerusalem, Israel | BAZZUP | Benjamin Netanyahu, who was given the job of forming a new government on Sunday by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, is now well-positioned to become prime minister for a record-breaking sixth time and return the nation to the authority of rightists.
In a speech delivered in Herzog’s presence at the mandate celebration, Netanyahu declared, “It will be a stable, successful, and responsible administration for all the people of Israel,” adding, “We are brothers and we will live together side by side.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year reign came to an end in June 2021 with the successful formation of a new government by centrist leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party. 64 members of the 120-seat Israeli parliament, or Knesset, nominated Netanyahu as being qualified to form a government after his right-wing Likud party won 32 seats in the most recent election, which took place two weeks ago.
The absolute majority won by the Netanyahu bloc in the most recent election can be largely attributed to the victory of Religious Zionism, a coalition of three far-right parties with anti-Arab, ultra-religious, and Jewish supremacist positions. It increased from having six seats in the 2021 election to having 14 this time around, becoming the second-largest parliamentary party behind Likud.
Jewish Israelis between the ages of 18 and 24 are thought to have supported religious Zionism strongly, as evidenced by the fact that more people in this age range voted for religious Zionism than for either the Labor Party or Meretz, the two left-wing parties. Due to its failure to reach the 3.25 percent electoral threshold, Meretz was even expelled from the Knesset for the first time in history.
Israelis who identify as religious tend to vote overwhelmingly for the right, and religious families typically have more children than nonreligious families, which may reflect a demographic shift over time.
The growth of the rightists is also attributed by analysts to the expansion of nationalism in Jewish society as a whole. According to them, Netanyahu may soon put together Israel’s “most far-right wing, ultra-nationalist, and religious alliance.”
According to Gayil Talshir, senior lecturer of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “the radicalization was already happening under Netanyahu’s own party, the Likud, but the extreme right party is much more religious, much, much more fundamentalist, and much, much more nationalist.”
She claimed that under the new coalition’s hardliners, Israel’s judicial system, minority policies, connections between the state and religion, and foreign policy would be altered.
Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, two prominent members of Religious Zionism’s extreme right, are among the hardliners. They are anti-Arab and opposed to giving the Palestinians any kind of concessions. Both are in favor of annexing the West Bank areas that Israel took control of during the Middle East War in 1967.
According to Israeli law, Netanyahu has 28 days to assemble a new cabinet and may be granted a 14-day extension if necessary.
Many Israelis fear that Netanyahu’s incoming cabinet may include appointments to important positions for far-right leaders. Ben-Gvir has urged Netanyahu in particular to nominate him as minister of public security, a position with authority over the police.
According to Michael Milshtein, senior researcher at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Reichman University, many Arab residents of Israel would experience “disappointment, dissatisfaction, and threat” as a result of the new composition of the cabinet.
Milshtein, who is also the director of the Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, thinks it’s possible that Netanyahu will work to include centrists in his coalition “in order to ease domestic and international criticism or concerns, particularly against the expected integration and appointment of religious Zionist elements to key positions.”