As negotiations are set to begin between Netanyahu’s Likud and the other parties, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are demanding they be given the public security and defense portfolios
Benjamin Netanyahu received the mandate to form a new governing coalition. This new government will be Netanyahu’s sixth and is shaping up to be the most anti-democratic one of all its predecessors.
President Isaac Herzog reportedly tried to push for the formation of a unity government last week, which would have excluded the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist party led by the fascist, Jewish supremacists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, but without much success.
“64 Knesset Members recommended MK Benjamin Netanyahu. 28 Knesset Members recommended MK Yair Lapid and 28 Knesset Members preferred not to recommend. Accordingly, and by all calculations, the result is clear – the task of forming the government must be entrusted to MK Benjamin Netanyahu,” announced Herzog as he gave Netanyahu the mandate to form the next government.
The Yesh Atid party, led by Yair Lapid, viewed Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government as a “dark day for democracy.” Herzog touched on the issue of Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial and said that he did not underestimate its importance. Despite that, however, Herzog still paved the way for Netanyahu to form the government. For his part, Netanyahu thanked the president, “We will work for a successful, stable, responsible government that works with dedication for the benefit of all residents of the State of Israel.
As negotiations are set to begin between Netanyahu’s Likud and the other parties, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are demanding they be given the public security and defense portfolios, while Shas receives the financial ones.
According to various news outlets, Ben-Gvir is seeking the position of Minister of Public security with expanded powers including control of units from other ministries which will give him greater influence over what happens in the Arab community in Israel. Ben-Gvir will reportedly demand the inclusion of the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev, the Land Authority, and the Anti-Drugs Authority.
According to Channel 12, Shas leader Aryeh Deri is asking for the Finance Ministry portfolio. After consultations within his party, he announced his intention to implement the party’s program, which affects social issues, through the Ministry of Finance. Following this announcement, excitement within the Religious Zionism camp rose, as this move would clear the path for Smotrich to become the Defense Minister. Religious Zionism also is asking for control of the Ministries of Education and Religious Services.
However, nothing is certain yet, as voices in the Likud are calling for the Defense Ministry position to be filled by a Likud member, with Yoav Galant being the frontrunner for the job. So far, it appears that there is an agreement in the negotiations between the Likud and the other right-wing parties to increase the endowment for pupils in yeshivas as part of the next State budget. They have also reached an agreement to enact the so-called “Overrise Clause,” which would allow the Knesset to enact laws that have been overturned by the Supreme Court. This will give Netanyahu even more power over the judiciary.
According to reports, the new government will include 30 ministers, in addition to deputy ministers. The previous government had 27 ministers.
There is no doubt that the new government headed by Netanyahu will be the most anti-democratic government of all his previous administrations. It seems that he will form a right-wing government, as he aspired, that includes some of the most extremist and racist parties in the country’s history.
Between Smotrich, who fears the sight of an Arab woman in the delivery room next to a Jewish mother, and Ben-Gvir, who still dreams of expelling Arabs from the country, we will witness a war on democracy in the next government.
It seems that the title of the next chapter in Israel’s history is “anti-democracy.” If the previous Netanyahu government brought us racist laws of the first order, such as the Kaminitz law and the Nation-State Law, it is likely that we will now witness a war over the independence of the judiciary in Israel.