Netanyahu is returning to power as the head of Israel’s most far-right government in history

Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in for a record sixth time on Thursday Israel’s Prime Ministerat the head of a government considered to be the most far-right since the country’s founding in 1948 last election victory led to the formation of a coalition that includes ultranationalist and religious parties that were once on the fringes of Israeli politics.

Critics say the new government could be the most intolerant and isolated government the country has ever led.

To form a ruling coalition, Netanyahu has allied himself with nationalist and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which have long pushed for policies that would marginalize Palestinians, non-Orthodox Jews and the LGBTQ community. They have also attempted to prevent women from serving in the military alongside men.

Netanyahu, who has returned to power despite being indicted allegations of corruption, addressed lawmakers in the country’s parliament before formally swearing in his government on Thursday afternoon, and was repeatedly interrupted by heckling from the opposition. He addressed her directly.

Israel's new government is sworn in in the Knesset
Former and Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Israeli Parliament during a discussion on swearing in a new government at Israel’s Parliament December 29, 2022 in Jerusalem, Israel.

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“I hear the opposition’s constant cries about the end of the country and of democracy,” Netanyahu said. “Oppositionists, losing in elections is not the end of democracy, that is the essence of democracy.”

There are important political and cultural considerations for the US. Netanyahu’s Likud party has already promised to expand Jewish settlements in disputed regions, including the West Bank. The White House has opposed any settlement expansion there, as the West Bank is seen as the territorial core of a future Palestinian state.

President Joe Biden, who called Netanyahu a “friend,” said in a statement Thursday that his administration will continue to support a two-state solution and “oppose any policies that endanger their viability or run counter to our common interests and values.” .

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been my friend for decades, to jointly address the many challenges and opportunities facing Israel and the Middle East region, including threats from Iran,” Mr. Biden said. “The United States is working to nurture a region that is increasingly integrated, prosperous and secure, with benefits for all of its people.”

Religiously, most American Jews are non-Orthodox, so Israel’s new government could undermine support within the US. All of this is likely to lead to more tensions between the two countries as Israel’s new government continues to drift to the right.

The far-right coalition has also pledged to expand subsidies to Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox allies and to push for sweeping reform of the judicial system. The new government is expected to serve a four-year term.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-prime-minister-far-right-government/ Netanyahu is returning to power as the head of Israel’s most far-right government in history

Rick Schindler

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