Explained: Netanyahu's Comeback

Explained: Netanyahu's Comeback

by Swarajya Staff - Friday, November 4, 2022 03:06 PM IST
Explained: Netanyahu's Comeback Benjamin Nethanyahu

Bibi is back. After a period of political instability in Israel, the nation seems to have finally attained some form of political stability, after five elections in four years. 
Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory and conceded defeat. 

99 percent of the ballots have been counted, as per information put out by the Central Elections Committee. Israel is going to witness the formation of one of its most right wing governments. 

"Prime Minister Lapid congratulated Opposition Leader Netanyahu on his victory in the elections, and updated him that he has instructed his entire office to prepare an organised transition of power," read a statement from Mr. Lapid's office.

Netanyahu's Likud party allied with ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies and another alliance called Religious Zionism to get a clear majority in Israel's 120-seat Knesset.  

Nethanyahu is making his comeback after 14 months in opposition. The incumbent coalition government was only united by their desire to keep Nethanyahu out of power, with very little else uniting them. The coalition had arab parties who oppose Zionism and right wing Zionist parties who want to construct more jewish settlements. Eventually, the internal contradictions of the alliance led to its collapse, which paved the way for the recent elections. 

With victory confirmed, Bibi now waits for a call from Israel's President Isaac Herzog who will give him 42 days to form a government. 

Bibi has served as Israel's prime minister  for the longest time. Bibi now has the responsibility of granting cabinet posts to his coalition partners. Expect prominent roles for people associated with Religious Zionism, which has  doubled its representation since the last elections. 

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a prominent leader of the Religious Zionism movement, has in the past said that Israel should annex the entire West Bank. He has expressed a desire to be the public security minister, which would mean that the police will be under his charge. 

Some have suggested that he might even be open to becoming the defence minister. "It's time we go back to being masters of our country," said the firebrand leader during the election night. 

The roots of Israel's recent political instability is the fact that parties that are to the right of Likud have emerged and they have captured some of Likud's vote share. Biba has had to agree to ally with them because without them, his party simply was not getting enough seats to form a stable government. 

Israel's politics has shifted towards the right, that has turned Bibi's rightwing Likud into a centrist party. It is easy to forget that Israeli politics was once dominated by left wing parties, with communes being a rather common sight. 

Netanyahu's relationship with Biden might be tricky as the Democratic establishment in US views Bibi as an extremist, especially since the took on Obama whilst addressing a joint session of US lawmakers. "Taking on the US President at the US Capitol Hill, it is not a small thing," remarked Bibi once. The resistance he faces in US will be heightened by the fact that he has to ally with parties who are more rightwing than him, which will make the task of certain segments of the Democrat party to portray him as an extremists easy. Thankfully, a red wave seems imminent in US midterms, which will make things easy for him.

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