Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 September 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition likely to include far-right Jewish supremacists

The hostile-to-Palestine government will likely include members from ultra-orthadox Jews to violent right-wingers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he addresses supporters at his Likud Party headquarters in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on election night. AFP 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he addresses supporters at his Likud Party headquarters in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on election night. AFP 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s win in recent elections, and subsequent desperation to form a coalition government will lead him closer in to the arms of right wing politicians and Jewish supremacists.

Having fallen short of a majority win, Mr Netanyahu will look to some of the more extreme members of Israel’s political landscape, most likely at the detriment to Palestinian statehood.

Among the big winners of the recent elections are the United Right, which now occupy five seats up from none in 2018. Their party is an alliance of far right, religious Zionist parties including the Jewish Home, whose head is now ultra-nationalist Rafi Peretz.

An Israeli Orthodox rabbi and former military officer, Mr Peretz sparked controversy in 2014 when he claimed that the Temple Mount has no religious significance to the Muslim religion.

He was quoted as saying in 2014, that “ninety per cent of them (Muslims) don’t know what’s written in the Quran. We know far better than they do”.

The group’s former leader, Naftali Bennett, has been vocal in his claims to annex the West Bank, where Israelis have been forming illegal settlements and attacking Palestinians for years. The group’s beliefs and their eventual coalition with Mr Netanyahu is likely to embolden the Prime Minister’s claim to annex the Palestinian territory in direct violation of UN resolutions.

Another right-wing group likely to link up with Mr Netanyahu are the Israel Beiteinu Party, who maintained their five seats in parliament. The secular, nationalist party’s base is comprised of mostly Russian-speaking Israelis whose leader and former defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, lives in an illegal settlement in the West Bank.

Known as the only defense minister to not live in his own country, Mr Lieberman has largely taken a hardline stance against the Palestinian plight with a track record to show. He resigned over Israel’s adherence to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in Gaza saying it was the equivalent of the government "capitulating to terror".

Shas, an ultraorthodox religious political party, gained an extra seat. Their stances on Palestinian statehood have shifted significantly to the right since their formation, and now support the consolidation of illegal Israeli settlements.

With a roster of political members convicted of criminal offenses, Shas’ long-time spiritual leader, Ovadia Yosef, was quoted in the past as saying that “It is forbidden to be merciful to them (Arabs). You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable”.

His statements have been equated to calling for genocide against Palestinians despite Mr Yosef’s claims of being misquoted.

With a coalition heavy with Zionist and Jewish supremacists, the upcoming government will rely heavily on the support of parties linked to the Israeli settler movement and will likely move to approve the construction of hundreds of new homes in illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Updated: April 10, 2019 05:33 PM

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