Israel’s Hard-Line Government Takes Office

Israel’s new right-wing coalition is taking office, and with it will likely test ties with the United States and Europe. Israel’s new government was sworn in Thursday, returning Benjamin Netanyahu to power. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is made up of right-wing and a religiously conservative administration that represents a significant challenge for the country on the world stage. 

Netanyahu’s governing coalition will likely test Israel’s ties and standing with the United States and Europe, amid fears that his coalition partners will undermine the country’s liberal democracy and its stability. 

Netanyahu spoke about these concerns during his speech in Parliament before a vote of confidence and the swearing-in ceremony for his ministers.

“There is a broad consensus among us about most of the challenges we face, though certainly not about all of them,” he said. “I hear the constant lamentations of the opposition about ‘the country being over’ and ‘the end of democracy.’ Members of the opposition, losing in elections is not the end of democracy — it is the essence of democracy.”

Netanyahu’s government and its policies that it has already pledged have raised international concerns, including over increased tensions with Palestine, the undermining of Israel’s judicial independence, and fears about the rolling back of protections for the LGBTQ community and other sectors of society. 

Netanyahu stepping back into power for the sixth time as prime minister comes at a critical moment for Israel. 

Israel is facing fundamental challenges, including Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, growing international criticism over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and a global tide of antisemitism. 

The new government coalition has been clear in its manifesto. It has declared the Jewish people’s “exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel” and pledged to bolster Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. 

This means the Israeli government has the intention of explicitly abandoning the internationally recognized plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The new administration is also pressing for an overhaul of the judiciary. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption charges. His supporters say the overhaul will restore the proper balance of power between branches of government, but critics say the move would curb the power and influence of an independent judiciary. Furthermore, they say it would damage the democratic system altogether in Israel and leave minorities vulnerable, as the country lacks a formal constitution. 

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