Israel’s Netanyahu Preparing Controversial Government
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
JERUSALEM (Worthy News) – Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu prepared for a busy political weekend Friday after confirming that he would lead what critics say is the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history.
Following his November 1 election win, Netanyahu secured a mandate to form a government backed by ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and a far-right bloc.
In a televised phone call, an enthusiastic Netanyahu informed President Isaac Herzog that he had succeeded in forming a coalition.
Yet Netanyahu remains controversial as he is fighting corruption allegations in court. Supporters praise his experience at a time when Israel faces significant security challenges from its neighbors and Iran.
He already served as premier longer than anyone in Israeli history. His tenure included a 1996 to 1999 stint and a record 12-year tenure from 2009 to 2021.
Among those congratulating him are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
“AIPAC congratulates the people of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu on the announcement of the formation of the new government,” their statement. “Once again, the Jewish state has demonstrated that it is a robust democracy with the freedoms that Americans also cherish,” the advocacy groups added in published remarks.
Yet Netanyahu, 73, faces significant political challenges, with commentators saying the emerging coalition will be the most hard-right and religious administration in Israel’s history.
Critics say he has grown ever more dependent on hard-line allies because more “liberal parties” refuse to sit in a government led by a prime minister under criminal indictment.
That dependency weakened him in the coalition negotiations, commentators claim.
Opponents say it forced him to go along with at least some of the demands for far-reaching changes, including death sentences for terrorists.
Far-right party Otzma Yehudit told Israeli media that Netanyahu’s Likud party agreed to pass legislation imposing the death penalty on terrorists before Israel gets a budget for 2023.
Critics also claim that Netanyahu agreed to limit the powers of the judiciary and curb the independence of the police, though he has vehemently denied wrongdoing.
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