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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Israeli parliament decides on new government

Benjamin Netanyahu will return for a sixth term in office

Israel’s parliament has voted in favor of a new government led by five-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Returning to power with the support of hardline Zionists, Netanyahu has promised to press ahead with Israel’s controversial settlement policy.

Netanyahu’s government was confirmed by 63 votes to 54 on Thursday, nearly two months after his Likud party and a coalition of orthodox and right-wing parties won a majority in the country’s fifth election in four years.

The venerable PM has already led Israel over five terms – from 1996 to 1999, and again from 2009 to 2021 – and is the Jewish state’s longest-serving prime minister.


His path back to office involved cutting a series of controversial deals with the Religious Zionism and United Torah Judaism parties, both of which claim that these agreements allow them to rewrite the country’s Law of Return to reduce immigration, and allow Orthodox Jewish business owners to deny service based on religious belief – for example, by permitting doctors to refuse treatment to LGBT patients.

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With the latter provision causing uproar among liberal Israelis, Netanyahu declared on Sunday that “there will be no situation where a person, whether he is LGBT, Arab or ultra-Orthodox or any other person” is denied service.

Netanyahu on Wednesday published his own government’s guiding principles – which, although non-binding, is the first official declaration of his intentions in office. 


These principles include a declaration of the Jewish people’s “exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel,” including the disputed Golan Heights, according to a translated version published by the Times of Israel. While the United Nations and a majority of states consider Israel’s building of Jewish settlements in the region to be illegal, Netanyahu’s guidelines promise “a wave of settlement, development and promotion of initiatives” in the Golan Heights.

On the topic of security, Netanyahu’s guidelines promise to “strengthen” Israel’s security forces, to step up policing of Arab communities, and to “continue the struggle against Iran’s nuclear program.”

In a possible rebuke to the Orthodox parties’ demands, the text also states that “the government will act to increase Jewish immigration from all countries around the world.”

READ MORE: Israeli government parties want gender segregation – media


Netanyahu is currently battling corruption charges, and could face a trial whilst in office. His coalition partners may hold the key to his political survival here, and could introduce legislation to either make Supreme Court decisions non-binding with a majority vote, postpone prosecution of a sitting prime minister until he leaves office, or legalize the offenses – fraud and breach of trust – allegedly committed by Netanyahu.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Netanyahu, telling the Israeli leader that he hopes his new government “will continue the policy of developing constructive Russian-Israeli cooperation,” in the interest of “peace and security in the Middle East region.”

December 29, 2022 at 10:07PM


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