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Israel swears Netanyahu as prime minister of right-wing government

Israeli politics

On Thursday, December 29, 2022, Israeli Prime Minister-designated Benjamin Netanyahu will address a special session of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to approve and take an oath of office in a new right-wing government. Amir Cohen/Pool Photo via AP

JERUSALEM — Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn into office on Thursday to take command of the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in Israel’s history, potentially causing domestic and regional turmoil and alienating the country’s closest allies. vowed to enact sensible policies.

Netanyahu took the oath of office shortly after parliament passed a vote of confidence in his new government. His return will be his sixth term in office, and he has continued to dominate Israeli politics for over a decade.

His new government is committed to prioritizing the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, providing huge subsidies to his ultra-Orthodox allies, and pushing for sweeping reforms of the judicial system. I promised. The plan has caused an unprecedented uproar throughout Israeli society, including the military, LGBTQ rights groups, and the business community.

Netanyahu is the country’s longest-serving prime minister, serving from 2009 to 2021, serving as prime minister in the 1990s. He was ousted from office last year after four deadlocked elections by a coalition of eight political parties united to oppose his rule.

Despite his political comeback, he is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three corruption cases. He denies all accusations against him, saying he was the victim of a witch hunt orchestrated by hostile media, police and prosecutors.

The diverse but fragile coalition that overthrew Netanyahu collapsed in June, and Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies won a clear parliamentary majority in the November elections.

“I hear the opposition clamoring continuously about the end of the country and democracy,” Netanyahu said after taking the podium in parliament ahead of the government’s formal swearing-in on Thursday afternoon. His speech was repeatedly interrupted by jeering and jeering from the opposition leadership, sometimes chanting “weak”.

“Opposition MPs: Losing elections is not the end of democracy, this is the essence of democracy,” he said.

Netanyahu heads a government made up of a hardline religious ultranationalist party dominated by West Bank settlers, two ultra-orthodox parties, and his nationalist Likud party.

His allies alienate most of the Israeli public, deepen the conflict with the Palestinians, and potentially put Israel on a collision course with some of its closest allies, including the United States and the Jewish-American community. Seeking dramatic change.

Netanyahu’s government platform states that “Jews have exclusive and indisputable rights over the entire Israeli and Palestinian territories” and to proceed with the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank. This includes efforts to legalize dozens of wildcat outposts and annex entire territories. This is a step that provokes international opposition by destroying any remaining hopes for a Palestinian state and adds fuel to the call that Israel is an apartheid state if millions of Palestinians are not allowed. citizenship.

Netanyahu’s previous administration was a strong supporter of Israel’s West Bank settlement project, which is only expected to run amok under the new government.

Israel occupied the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in 1967. Israel has built dozens of Jewish settlements with about 500,000 Israelis living alongside about 2.5 million Palestinians.

Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. The United States has already warned the incoming government not to take steps that could further undermine hopes for an independent Palestinian state.

The White House’s National Security Council said Thursday it “will not support policies that jeopardize the viability of a two-state solution or that conflict with our mutual interests and values.”

“We will promote Israeli security and regional integration, support a two-state solution, and support policies that equally ensure security, prosperity and freedom for Israel and Palestine,” he added.

Israel’s new government has also expressed concern about the retreat of minority and LGBTQ rights. Thousands of demonstrators waved Israeli and Rainbow Pride flags outside parliament. “We don’t want fascists in the Knesset!” they chanted.

Earlier this week, two members of the Religious Zionist Party said they would push forward with amendments to the country’s anti-discrimination laws that would allow businesses and doctors to discriminate against the LGBTQ community on the basis of their religious beliefs.

These statements, along with the ruling coalition’s broadly anti-LGBTQ stance, have raised concerns that the new government will jeopardize their limited rights. We tried to allay these concerns by promising

Netanyahu’s loyalist Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, was voted as his partner as Speaker of Parliament as his two children watched from the audience. “This Knesset, under the leadership of this speaker, will not harm them or their children or other families,” he said.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who now re-assumes the title of opposition leader, said in parliament that the new government would “hand over a country in good standing, with a strong economy, improved defensive capabilities and strong deterrence.” there is,” he said. Best international ranking ever. ”

“Please don’t break it. I’ll be right back,” Rapid said.


Associated Press writers Isabel Debre of Jerusalem and Darlene Superville of Washington contributed to this report.

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