World

Israel swears in Netanyahu as PM of hard-line government


JERUSALEM: Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in on Thursday, taking the helm of the most religiously conservative and right-wing government in Israel’s history and vowing to implement policies that could destabilize the country. and the region, while alienating the country’s closest allies.
Mr. Netanyahu was sworn in as soon as parliament approved a vote of confidence in his new government. His return marks his sixth term in office, continuing his more than decade-long domination of Israeli politics.
His new government has pledged to prioritize expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, extending massive subsidies to his ultra-Orthodox allies and pushing for sweeping reforms of the justice system that could cause havoc. dangerous to the country’s democratic institutions.
Netanyahu is the country’s longest-serving prime minister, having held office from 2009 to 2021 and some time in the 1990s. He was ousted last year after four deadlocked elections by a coalition eight parties only united to oppose his rule while on trial for corruption.
That coalition disbanded in June, and Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox and ultra-nationalist allies won a parliamentary majority in November’s elections.
“I hear the opposition’s constant cries for the end of the country and democracy,” Mr. . leaders, who sometimes chant “weak”.
“Opposition members: losing the election is not the end of democracy, this is the essence of democracy,” he said.
Netanyahu heads a government that includes a hardline religious party dominated by West Bank settlers, two ultra-Orthodox parties and his nationalists. Likud party.
His allies are pushing for dramatic changes that could alienate much of the Israeli public, increase the risk of conflict with the Palestinians and put Israel in conflict with some of its closest supporters. , including the United States and the American Jewish community.
Netanyahu’s government has published its platform, which states that “the Jews have exclusive and indisputable rights” over the entire territory of Israel and Palestine, and will promote the settlement building in the occupied West Bank. That included legalizing dozens of wild outposts and pledging to annex entire territories, a move that would draw strong international opposition by destroying any remaining hope of status. state of the Palestinians and add fuel to the fire calling for Israel to be a racist state if millions of Palestinians are denied citizenship.
Mr. Netanyahu’s previous administrations have been strong supporters of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and that is expected to be stepped up under the new government.
Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem – territories the Palestinians seek for a future state. Israel has built dozens of Jewish settlements, which are home to some 500,000 Israelis living with about 2.5 million Palestinians.
Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. The United States has warned the incoming government not to take steps that could further undermine hopes of an independent Palestinian state.
The new government has also raised concerns about the impact on minority and LGBTQ rights.
Outside parliament, several thousand protesters waved Israeli and Pride flags and chanted “we don’t want the fascists inside.” Knesset.” Another rally is expected in Tel Aviv later in the day.
Earlier this week, two members of Religious National Costume Party said it would push for an amendment to the country’s anti-discrimination law to allow businesses and doctors to discriminate against the LGBTQ community on the basis of religious beliefs.
Those remarks, coupled with the ruling coalition’s broad anti-LGBTQ stance, have raised concerns among the LGBTQ community that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new administration will strip them of their limited rights. Netanyahu has tried to assuage those concerns by pledging not to harm LGBTQ rights.
Yair LapidThe outgoing prime minister, who will now take up the title of leader of the opposition again, told parliament he was giving the new government “a country in excellent condition, with a strong economy, with Improved defense and strong deterrence, with one of the best country rankings ever.
“Try not to destroy it. We will be back soon,” Lapid said.

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