Netanyahu is expected to become Israel's prime minister once again. He will continue to be the sane voice in the extremist right-wing alliance.

Netanyahu Victory in Israel: The Moderate Among the Right
[Israeli re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu]

That one that takes place on November 1st Nobody expected Israel's short-lived "government of change" to last the full four years it was in office. And the fact that it lasted so long was even more unexpected. With eight separate groups, the ideological differences proved insurmountable. Nonetheless, she has brought an Arab party into the coalition for the first time and has ended Benjamin Netanyahu's long reign as conservative prime minister. It took four years, but the coalition finally passed the budget Israel desperately needed to get government agencies back up and running. Additionally, they managed the pandemic's aftershocks with a new, less tense tone that did away with lockdowns and school cancellations. In terms of international relations, the country's ties to its neighbors, Europe, and the United States will all improve dramatically. Israel has reestablished itself as a trustworthy ally.

Voters clearly rejected these gains at the polls for the 25th Knesset on Tuesday. Democracies on the center-left were able to steal votes from each other, but they were unable to win over new voters. Out of 120 seats in the Knesset, the Labor Party has gone from seven to four. Meretz, the second progressive force, came up just short, with 3.24 percent. On the other side, it has a very different appearance. The conservative camp can handle 65 seats with surprising ease in Parliament, including the conservative-liberal Likud and ultra-Orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties. No survey had predicted such a resounding victory. But the night's true victor was not Netanyahu but rather Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Otzma Jehudit's leader, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was the main force behind the Religious Zionists' increase from six to fourteen seats in parliament. This makes the nationalist-religious party, which openly promotes racism and demands Jewish supremacy, the third most powerful force in parliament and a potential kingmaker. On election night, as Ben-Gvir took the stage in front of his supporters, they chanted loudly in front of the cameras, "Death to the Arabs." It is likely that his political influence on the upcoming coalition will be devastating. 

Not least among these measures is the fear that they will cause a tremor in the country's democratic fabric. After being found guilty of racist incitement and aiding a terrorist group, the militant settler is now demanding the position of minister for internal security. He would then have complete control over the Israeli police, as well as the security forces at the borders, in the West Bank, and in the Israeli cities where Arabs and Jews live in separate sectors. It's hard to believe he wouldn't employ these forces to advance his unyieldingly anti-Arab agenda. Ben-election Gvir's and involvement in government were also strongly linked to plans to weaken the rule of law through legislation.

Right-wing nationalists have traditionally had a difficult time accommodating an independent judicial system. For instance, in the future, the committee that is in charge of selecting judges ought to have the majority of its members consist of representatives of the coalition that is currently in power. A deterioration in Israeli-Palestinian relations is to be anticipated, not to mention a political peace process that was already dormant in the lead-up to the elections. This coalition will most likely not set any barriers to further settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories.

In general, the Jewish character of the state ought to be strengthened through the work of this coalition. This is not only being done at the expense of the approximately twenty percent of Israel's population that is not Jewish, but it is also being done at the expense of Jews who practice secularism. For instance, in Tel Aviv, the hope of having public transportation available on the Sabbath has finally been dashed. In addition to this, vulnerable groups are forced to fret once more over their rights and where they stand in the public sphere. These individuals primarily consist of women, but also include members of the rainbow community as well as Arabs.

Even the centrist-liberal Netanyahu cannot support the idea that this toxic alliance should continue for an entire legislative term of four years. Last but not least, the medium and long-term economic costs for the country are too high if, for example, the ultra-Orthodox parties, as announced, remove essential basic skills in mathematics and English from the curricula of religious schools. Not only is this a bad idea, but it would also be a bad idea for the country. It is far more likely that Netanyahu will quickly form a government and then use the time to reunite the conservative camp according to his ideas after he has completed the government formation. As soon as he is able to be certain that the majority does not include extremists, he will have the ability to use any pretext in order to bring the coalition to its knees and call for fresh elections.

Although he is facing three trials on charges of corruption, embezzlement, and fraud, the newly elected prime minister will be the voice in this coalition that is considered to be the most moderate and moderate of all voices. It will be up to him to stop whatever terrible thing is about to take place. Last but not least, he does justice to the paternalistic self-image he has of himself as the father of the nation, and it is his responsibility to put an end to this spook as quickly as possible.

 It would be wise for the parties on the left to take advantage of this opportunity to conduct an open and honest investigation into their own role(s) in this catastrophe and to take the appropriate actions. To a greater extent than ever before, the international community is being urged to insist on the universality of human rights. This is especially important to keep in mind for those who support Israel, as it is natural to wish one's adversaries a version of the future that they fear the most.

The author Marie Schröter, project assistant at FES Israel, is a political scientist and co-founder of Codetekt , a civil society response to misinformation on the internet.
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