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Bibi’s Back

Netanyahu Is Back. Here’s What That Means for Israel

Abbas Al Lawati, CNN, November 2nd, 2022


Recap:

Benjamin Netanyahu will once again serve as Israel’s prime minister following the country’s fifth election since 2019. Netanyahu’s Likud bloc won 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in an election that saw a seven-year high turnout.


The Context:

· Netanyahu served as prime minister between 1996-1999 and 2009-2021. He is Israel's longest-serving prime minister and has spent the last year as Opposition head [1]. In 2021, an unlikely coalition including centrists, Jewish Nationalists and Islamists, managed to unseat Netanyahu, but the alliance struggled to overcome deep ideological divisions and collapsed [2].

· While criticized for his reluctance to advance peace with Palestinians, Netanyahu has maintained the status quo in the West Bank despite pressure from his settler movement allies and despite his right-wing coalition, Netanyahu normalized ties with several Arab states in the Gulf. Netanyahu is viewed as a security hawk, going as far as publicly confronting the United States over Iran's nuclear program [3].

· Netanyahu promised to build a responsible coalition that would avoid "unnecessary adventures" and "expand the circle of peace". The coalition is dependent on the support of Religious Zionism [4], an ultra-nationalist party that wants to reduce checks and balances on lawmakers, give politicians more control over judicial appointments, and end Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank [5]. Religious Zionism seeks control of ministries that oversee the army, and the police which critics warn could erode the rights of Arab citizens [6].

· Netanyahu is on trial for alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust - charges he aggressively denies [7].


Conversation Points:

· What is the key to making this government stick?

· Why did this election register the highest voter turnout since 2015?

· Can Netanyahu build a responsible coalition despite fiery rhetoric coming from his new partners?


Notes:





1. Netanyahu holds lead to win election, as almost all of votes counted, ELIAV BREUER, Jerusalem Post, NOVEMBER 1st, 2022

2. Netanyahu Extends Lead, but Fate of Minor Parties Gives Opponents Hope, Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, November 2, 2022

3. Benjamin Netanyahu faces balancing act after Israel election comeback, James Mackenzie, Reuters, November 2nd, 2022

4. Israel elections: Netanyahu set for comeback with far right's help - partial results, Raffi Berg, BBC News, November 2nd, 2022

5. Netanyahu Extends Lead, but Fate of Minor Parties Gives Opponents Hope, Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, November 2, 2022

6. Benjamin Netanyahu faces balancing act after Israel election comeback, James Mackenzie, Reuters, November 2nd, 2022

7. Four key takeaways from Israel’s parliamentary elections, Al Jazeera, November 2nd, 2022


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