The return of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu causes despair for left-wing parties Benjamin Netanyahu

The return of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu causes despair for left-wing parties Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s left-wing and pro-Arab right-wing parties are left licking their wounds after this week’s election. When the counting of votes ended on Thursday, the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right colleagues had won with a comfortable majority.

Last summer, a broad coalition succeeded in ousting Likud leader Netanyahu by mutual consent. He is now on trial on charges of corruption.

A “Government of Change” composed of right-wing, left-wing and centrist parties and led by Naphtali Bennett and Yair Lapid, made history as it included an independent Arab party for the first time. The ambitious attempt, however, was initially hampered by infighting.

After losing its narrow majority, the Lapid/Bennett government collapsed shortly after celebrating its first birthday, leading to Israel’s fifth election in less than four years.

As exit polls on Tuesday evening predicted a landslide victory for the far-right camp, as the ultra-religious Zionists more than doubled their seats in the Knesset, Israel’s small left wing tried to remain optimistic. But as Netanyahu’s alliance extended its lead, those hopes faded and the mood turned to despair.

“The third largest party in the Knesset is racist, priestly, [referring to a banned rightwing terrorist group], a violent party that doesn’t want me or my children here,” Isavi Frei, the country’s second Muslim cabinet minister, tweeted. “This is no longer a slippery slope. This is the abyss itself.”

Members of the outgoing coalition have already begun to blame their poor performance this week. Polls in the run-up to the election consistently suggested it would once again be the two blocs with around 60 seats. However, despite 49.95% of the total vote, the anti-Netanyahu camp will have just 50 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Refusals by smaller parties to unite despite polls showing they could miss the electoral threshold, and a last-minute split in the Arab United List are just two reasons why votes for the government camp did not translate into seats. In order to govern in Israel’s divided political spectrum, it is necessary to build a coalition. a more unified strategy or even small changes in voter turnout could have produced a very different result.

Tamar Herman, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), said the government, led first by the right-wing Bennett and then by the centrist Lapid, also alienated voters who had cared about political instability during its chaotic 18 months. in the office.

“It was quite clear that public opinion is not with the government. Sixty percent of this country is right-wing, and that goes up to 70% among young people,” he said, citing IDI research. “They [the government] showed arrogance in these elections. But the writing was on the wall.”