For the fifth time since 2019, Israel’s government has shut down. After Prime Minister Naftali Bennett dissolved the Knesset, subsequent upcoming legislative elections open the possibility for the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to the head of the Jewish state.
Foreign Brief covers political instability in Israel. After months of political gridlock, the fragile anti-Netanyahu coalition collapsed, meaning new elections in the coming months could pave the way for a right-wing coalition headed by former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the country once again.
Israel’s government has fallen once again. Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett dissolved the country’s legislative body, sending Israelis to the polls for the fifth time since April 2019. Many fear this snap election has created the potential for the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the country who is currently being tried for corruption. What’s causing Israel’s political instability? And what does the government reboot mean for the country’s future policies?
The now fallen ruling coalition consisted of eight different parties from across the political spectrum, including the first Arab party to be included in the Israeli government. However, this political diversity quickly led to political gridlock. With so many conflicting interests, the government failed to compromise on the relationship between religion and state, settlement policy in the West Bank, and more. For example, members of the Arab Ra’am party blocked a vote to extend the two-tier legal system governing the West Bank, which needs to be renewed every five years. The representatives claimed the system favors Israeli settlers and discriminates against Palestinian locals. In response, the pro-settlement Prime Minister dissolved parliament in order to postpone the final vote until the fall election. Now without a government, current foreign minister Yair Lapid will serve as caretaker Prime Minister due to a coalition forming agreement signed with Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party. Elections are scheduled to take place in late October or early November later this year. With his right-wing Jewish nationalist Likud party leading comfortably in the polls, Netanyahu is likely to be at the helm of the largest political party in Israel come next election,
“We are very certain in our ability to win the elections. As for the question of an alternative government, we offered it from the get-go, let’s form a right-wing government. There’s a right-wing majority in this Parliament.”
However, despite being likely to win a plurality, the Likud party is not guaranteed a majority, signaling months long coalition negotiations and government dysfunction. Last time, the government collapsed the Knesset neglected to sign a national budget or conduct key civil service operations. Netanyahu’s potential return to the head of the Knesset will likely require a more conservative governing coalition in order to push his right-wing nationalist agenda and ice out the opposing minority parties. A Netanyahu-led Israel would likely see more advocacy for Israeli rights in the West Bank and an aggressive foreign policy against nuclear ambitious rival Iran.
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