Friday, December 30, 2022

Israel ordains Netanyahu as its hardline government's prime minister

Israel swears in Netanyahu as PM of hard-line government

JERUSALEM: Thursday marked Benjamin Netanyahu's oath of office, swearing to lead the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in Israel's history and promising to implement policies that could destabilize the country and its neighbors and alienate its closest allies.

Moments after parliament approved a vote of confidence in his new government, Netanyahu took the oath of office. His sixth term in office marks his continuation of his dominance of Israeli politics for more than a decade.

His new government has pledged to prioritize settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, provide substantial subsidies to his ultra-Orthodox allies, and advocate for extensive judicial reform that could jeopardize the democratic institutions of the country.

Netanyahu is the country's longest-serving prime minister, having served from 2009 to 2021, with a brief period in the 1990s in between. A coalition of eight parties solely united in their opposition to his rule, while he was on trial for corruption, toppled him from office last year after four deadlocked elections.

That alliance fell to pieces in June, and Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and super Standard partners got a parliamentary greater part in November's political decision.

After taking the podium in parliament ahead of the formal swearing-in of the government on Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu stated, "I hear the constant cries of the opposition about the end of the country and democracy." His speech was repeatedly interrupted by jeers and heckles from the opposition leadership, who occasionally chanted "weak."

"Persons in opposition: He stated, "This is the essence of democracy; to lose in elections is not the end of democracy."

Two ultra-Orthodox parties, a hard-line religious ultranationalist party dominated by West Bank settlers, and Netanyahu's nationalist Likud party make up the government.

His allies are pushing for big changes that could turn off a lot of Israelis, make it more likely that Israel will fight the Palestinians, and put Israel in conflict with some of its most loyal supporters, like the Jewish American community and the United States.

The platform that the Netanyahu government put out said that "the Jewish people have exclusive and indisputable rights" over all of Israel and the Palestinian territories and that it would move forward with building settlements in the occupied West Bank. This includes vowing to annex the entire territory and legalizing dozens of wildcat outposts, both of which would stomp out any remaining Palestinian statehood hopes and bolster claims that Israel is an apartheid state if millions of Palestinians are denied citizenship.

The previous governments led by Netanyahu have been ardent supporters of Israel's West Bank settlement program, and it is anticipated that this trend will only intensify under the new administration.

In 1967, Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, all of which are Palestinian lands that the Palestinians want for a future state. There are dozens of Jewish settlements in Israel that are home to approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians.

The majority of nations consider Israel's West Bank settlements to be illegal and a hindrance to reaching peace with the Palestinians. The incoming government has already been warned by the United States not to take any actions that could further undermine hopes for a Palestinian state that is independent.

Additionally, the new administration has expressed concerns regarding violations of LGBTQ and minority rights.

Several thousand people gathered outside parliament to chant, "We don't want fascists in the Knesset," while waving the Israeli and Pride flags. Later that day, another protest was anticipated in Tel Aviv.

Two members of the Religious Zionism party said earlier this week that they would introduce a change to the country's anti-discrimination law that would allow doctors and businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community based on their religious beliefs.

The LGBTQ community is concerned that the new Netanyahu administration will curtail their limited rights due to those remarks and the coalition's generally anti-LGBTQ stance. By stating that LGBTQ rights will not be harmed, Netanyahu has attempted to allay those concerns.

“A country in excellent condition, with a strong economy, with improved defensive abilities and strong deterrence, with one of the best international standings ever,” said Yair Lapid, the outgoing prime minister who will now reassume his position as opposition leader.

"Try to avoid destroying it. Lapid stated, "We'll be back soon."

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