The era of King Bibi seems to possess finally come to an end. Well, which will certainly be saying an excessive amount of , because with Benjamin Netanyahu, the architect of modern Israel, you never know.
Netanyahu has been central to everything in Israeli politics and has piloted the country longer than the other leader.
He was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999 and then again from 2009 to 2021. Not only that, Bibi, as he’s affectionately known, also held two of Israel’s three most important ministerial portfolios: foreign affairs between 2002 and 2003, and finance between 2003 and 2005.
In other words, in a method or another, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics for nearly 25 years. Twenty-five long years during which the country has undergone a huge transformation:
Economy take-off of Israel
significant as the economic take-off that Israel has experienced in recent decades; its increasingly clear position of technological leadership on a worldwide scale and its openness to the planet , including something that might have been unthinkable just a decade ago:
The new diplomatic ties with the main Arab powers. But, because the saying goes: every story comes to an end.
In June 2021, the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, replaced King Bibi as Prime Minister. His dismissal led, after an arduous journey, to the election of Naftali Bennett because the new leader of the Hebrew State. and every one this despite the fact that Bennett’s party, Yamina, barely won 7 of the 120 member seats that structure the Knesset.
what’s behind Netanyahu’s farewell?
More importantly, does one want to satisfy the new power figure of the center East and his more than diverse government?
It seems that, within the elections on 23 March 2021, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, was once more , the facility that gained the most votes far and away .
Despite this, King Bibi did not manage to orchestrate a parliamentary majority in his favor. He came close but did not succeed. That’s partly due to the accusations that have brought him before the courts.
The fact is that Netanyahu is involved in three legal proceedings, Case 1,000, Case 2,000 and Case 4,000. within the first, he is accused of fraud and breach of trust, for allegedly receiving boxes of cigars and champagne from businessmen. In total, the assets are valued at US$198,000.
Then there’s Case 2,000, during which he’s accused of negotiating a affect the owner of Israel’s best-selling newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for better coverage in exchange for regulatory benefits for the media outlet. And finally there’s Case 4,000, in which Netanyahu is accused of granting regulatory favors to the country’s leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel, in exchange for positive coverage on an internet site controlled by the previous chairman of the telco.
Netanyahu has therefore been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Those are the accusations that are on the table, and no matter whether Netanyahu is guilty or not, what’s certain is that this litigation are some things that has eroded his public image.
And, despite this, consistent with polls only 52% of Jewish Israelis and 56% of Arab Israelis were wanting to see Bibi leave power.
We aren’t talking a few large margin and the fact that it had been not a bigger percentage shows us to what extent Israeli society was divided over its historic leader.
In any case, the division of Israeli politics, the enormous parliamentary fragmentation and Netanyahu’s inability to realize a replacement parliamentary majority was a scenario that Naftali Bennet took advantage of like no other to put himself at the helm of the country.
Although to be fair, it’s faraway from clear how solid his new government are going to be . (Naftali Bennett becomes new PM as eight-party alliance topples Benjamin Netanyahu – Scroll) And that explains why, a couple of weeks into his term of office, the issues began. (War within the Israeli Parliament:
Naftali Bennett loses his first battle to Netanyahu The vote to increase a law that forestalls the granting of Israeli citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israelis widens the cracks within the fragile Executive. El Mundo) But we’ll mention all this later.
The fact is that this leader, along side Yair Lapid of the center-liberal Yesh Atid party, the party that received the second-highest votes, managed to sell voters, above all, on two things:
First, that after four elections between 2019 and 2021 Israel had to avoid repeating parliamentary elections again in the least costs. We are talking about four elections that had an estimated economic cost of $4.24 billion US dollars.
$4.24 billion in Uncle Sam’s bills for a rustic of barely 9 million inhabitants. The reason for therefore much electoral celebration has to do with the very fact that Israel is that the only country within the world where the Law obliges elections to be called if the parliament does not pass a replacement budget within a particular period of time.
Elections in Israel have a very high cost not only due to the heavy security measures that are deployed to make sure the safety of the elections but also because election day is taken into account a vacation for workers and any work activity has got to be paid as overtime at 200% of the regular salary.
And, of course, since Netanyahu wasn’t able to consolidate a transparent majority within the first, second, third or fourth instance, the message was clear. Secondly, the parties con to Netanyahu saw within the judicial processes as a golden opportunity to urge obviate King Bibi.
For this reason, one among the strangest agreements in the political history of Israel was set in motion, a true mishmash government made up of people that would hardly be caught dead with one another or be trusted to spend time in the same space without the danger of ending up during a police headquarters .
We are talking about eight parties of all types of ideologies and with a pacesetter who barely won 7 deputies in the elections. But having said that, what’s Naftali Bennett really like, and what could Israel’s new Commander-in-Chief mean for Israel and Middle Eastern policy? Well, let’s take a glance .
Naftali Bennett. Keep that name in mind because it may make tons of headlines within the coming months. The new Israeli prime minister is anything but a standard politician.
The son folks parents, Bennett may be a former high-tech entrepreneur who sold his company, Cyota, for $145 million.
But don’t think that’s all there’s to him. Bennet, who as a young man had served within the Israeli army’s special corps and despite being a millionaire, participated as a reservist in the Lebanon War in 2006, leading a unit of 67 special corps commandos.
A battle after which Bennet was recruited as Chief of Staff by Netanyhau himself. It was his leap into politics. Since then and before becoming Prime Minister, he has held six ministerial portfolios under Netanyahu’s governments, among them two of the foremost important: economy and defense.
in terms of faith , he professes Modern Orthodox Judaism, which may be a branch of Judaism somewhat more fundamentalist than that followed by the present majority in Israel, but more secular and politically and socially moderate than the Haredi or Ultraorthodox. And actually , as a side note, Bennett has become the first prime minister to wear a kippah all the time.
The characteristic Jewish cap. But beyond personal issues, what matters most to us on VisualPolitik is, logically, the leader’s political positioning. And here, well, even Bennett describes himself as “more to the proper of Netanyahu.”
Both economically and socially. And although as he has moved closer to power in Israel he has become more and more conciliatory…. (“This whole notion of leftists being traitors and all of this nonsense is unacceptable. […] What Bibi did for ages… the dog whistle against this group or that group, I don’t go there. I’m more right-wing than Bibi, but
I don’t use hate or polarization as a tool to promote myself politically.” – Naftali Bennett)
the reality is that the newspaper archives do not allow us to explain the new Israeli leader as a moderate. For example, Bennett may be a staunch opponent of the thought of two states, Palestinian and Israeli, as an answer to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
such a lot in order that he went thus far as to say that it might be national security suicide for Israel. And don’t think that he said this stuff in a discreet way during a meeting behind closed doors, or faraway from an open microphone, no way…
he said it in 2014 to significant media outlets like the ny Times and CNN. (“The old models of peace between Israel and the Palestinians are not any longer relevant. The time has come to rethink the two-state solution.” – Naftali Bennett on The ny Times, in 2014) (“The era of those negotiations is over
The approach that we’ve been trying for twenty years now clearly has reached its end.” – Naftali Bennet on CNN, in 2014)
The problem is that by discarding the two-state solution, he’s not asserting the existence of one State, but rather he’s proposing to maintain Palestine as a sort of protectorate or permanent colony, a protectorate, of course, subordinated to Israel. And that, well many would define that as a sort of Apartheid.
In fact, Bennett also defends the military occupation of the West Bank , because, he says, this territory was won by Israel during the Six-Day War. Of course, in no case does he propose to grant Israeli citizenship to the nearly 3 million inhabitants of this territory.
In the same vein, he was Director General of the Yesha Council, a corporation that defends the interests of Israeli settlers in Jewish settlements within the West Bank . Because yes, the new Israeli Prime Minister supports settlements on Palestinian soil. But this is often not the sole issue where he’s completely frank:
In 2018 Bennett said that if he were Minister of Defense, he would implement a “shoot-to-kill” policy on the Gaza border against all those Palestinians who engaged in aggression against Israeli security forces. Moreover, when asked if this is able to include children, he answered very clearly. Check it out.
(“They aren’t children, they’re terrorists. We are fooling ourselves.” – Naftali Bennet in 2018) And beyond whether or not you agree, or whether or not many children are indeed indoctrinated and trained by Hamas to attack Israel, these kinds of messages reveal the new Prime Minister’s not only hard, but staunchly position .
However, territory and security policy are not the sole items on his agenda. Just as Bennett may be a clear example of a nationalist politician, he’s also a faithful advocate of free markets, low taxes, deregulation and the reduction of union power and privileges.
For now, within the draft of the state budget for Israel that was agreed on with the eight-party coalition that has brought him to power, a tax freeze for 2022 was expressly included. Likewise, in matters of social rights, despite his status as a contemporary orthodox, he’s relatively open-minded. for instance , he advocates that LGBT people have an equivalent rights as any heterosexual person.
In other words, Israel features a new prime minister with a pro-business agenda, experience in private and public management, an extended career as a politician within the army’s special corps, including real combat experience, and a robust nationalist emphasis. In short, it’s as he defined himself:
Politically we mention Bennett being to the right of Netanyahu, specifically to the nationalist right. But simply because he’s Prime Minister does not mean he will have play . Bennett heads one of the foremost diverse governments we could imagine. A Frankenstein government.
(A FRANKENSTEIN GOVERNMENT)
Nationalist right, national-liberalism, liberal center, Zionist social democrats, green left, Islamists… Eight Parties and coalitions that literally come from everywhere the political spectrum.
This random mix is what makes up the new Israeli government composed of 28 ministries. A number of ministries which will seem huge to you… Until we take under consideration that the last Netanyahu government had 36.
that’s Israeli politics: Everyone has to get their share of the pie. In addition, the govt will have two different terms. For the primary two years, Bennett are going to be the prime minister, and for the remaining two years Yair Lapid, of the liberal and secular centrist Yesh Atid party, will be the prime minister. If they manage to urge that far.
To throw King Bibi out of power.
The question is, will this work out? Well, the truth is that a lot of analysts and experts in Israel and Middle Eastern politics, if not most, believe that this government won’t last five minutes, which Lapid won’t become prime minister, a minimum of not with the current coalition.
And, of course, the very broad and contrary ideological spectrum of the parties that comprise it make it very difficult to succeed in consensus, especially when the going gets tough. I am thinking, for instance , of another escalation of violence with Hamas in Gaza.
Without looking too far, during this new government, there is an Israeli Arab from the Ra’am party, of Islamist ideology, as deputy minister of Arab affairs.
We are talking about Mansour Abbas. It is difficult to imagine him supporting from within the government a military escalation with Gaza, greater control within the West Bank , or a forceful response within the event that Hamas decides to return to its old ways with rockets or terrorist attacks.
Among Abbas’s political objectives within the Israeli government is to increase [and greatly] government spending on Arab towns and villages in Israel, something that doesn’t seem very compatible with Bennett’s advocacy of Jewish settlements within the West Bank.
In other words, the most important challenge for the new Israeli government, above anything else associated with politics, defense or economics, is its own existence, to be ready to stand on its own feet. As much as Bennett himself says he prefers to put aside the differences.
(“Our principle is: we’ll sit together, and we will forge forward thereon which we agree – and there’s much we agree on, transport, education then on – and what separates us, we’ll leave to the side.” – Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel) The clashes will come.
This government has not been formed here with a political project but with one mission: to throw Bibi out of power. And to top it off, we aren’t talking about a coalition with a really large majority either. We are thinking about 61 MPs against 59 who support Netanyahu. Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s policy and defense.