Netanyahu is likely to be Israel’s next prime minister

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SMathalIsrael’s main commando unit, modeled exactly on the British Special Air Service (sas), also stole his motto: “Who dares wins”. It is a belief that has been proven almost to destruction by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and an alumnus of Israeli unity. After four failed attempts and 16 months of opposition, Mr. Netanyahu appears to have won a parliamentary majority that will put him back in the prime minister’s office.

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As The EconomyAbout 90% of the votes cast in the election on November 1 have been counted. The count shows that the group of right-wing and religious parties that support Mr Netanyahu are almost certain to have 62-65 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, after just win a few thousand more votes than their competitors. Mr Netanyahu credits his dramatic comeback to a surge in nationalist polling fueled by his far-right allies in the Jewish Power party.

Another contributing factor was the continued division between the centre-left and Arab parties, two of which seem to have failed to cross the electoral threshold of 3.25%. These differences led to the formation of the government in early June 2021 by a broad coalition put together by Yair Lapid that included right-wing, centrist, left-wing and Islamist parties .

In a victory speech to members of his Likud party in Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu triumphantly declared that “our way, the Likud way, had proven itself.” Indeed, Likud has barely increased its numbers since the election. before March 2021. The great gains made by his bloc are almost entirely due to the extraordinary success of the Religious Zionism list, which includes the Jewish Power party, that more than doubled its data. seat. Mr Netanyahu had prevailed upon the leader of the Jewish Power, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to combine his list with that of two far-right parties, ensuring that votes for the camp would not go his to spend on parties that fell below the threshold.

Until recently Mr. Ben-Gvir was a political pariah. His resume includes threatening to “reach out” to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shortly before he was assassinated by a Jewish terrorist in 1995, and membership in a violent party of an Arab front banned by the Israeli government as a terrorist organization. As of the election held in March 2020, Jewish Power won only 19,000 votes.

But Mr. Netanyahu legitimized it and launched it on a rocket-like trajectory. On election day Mr Ben-Gvir was mobbed as he toured working and religious areas. He promised them, together with him in the new government, “that we will be the masters.” He is now co-leader of the third largest party in the Knesset and can dictate his terms to Mr. Netanyahu, which Mr. Ben-Gvir needs if he is to form a government. At the top of his wish list is to be named minister of public security, in charge of the Israeli police.

Mr Netanyahu’s usual coalition partners, the ultra-Orthodox parties, have their own lists of demands. Among them are bigger budgets for religious schools as well as the right not to teach their children rude subjects such as maths and English.

The parties in Mr Netanyahu’s coalition also hope to weaken the power of the courts, which they see as an obstacle to their goal of seizing more land that Israel occupied in 1967. ‘ that might suit Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial on bribery charges. , fraud and “breach of trust”. He insists that his innocence will be proven in court and denies that he tried to undermine the legal process. But his friends have talked about replacing the attorney general and eliminating the crime of breach of trust.

After five elections in less than four years, many Israelis want stability. But they may be disappointed in the hope that Mr. Netanyahu will give this up. Once he is back in office he can call another election to cut his new partners down to size.

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