Thursday, July 7

The Government of Israel is reeling


  • Naftali Bennett faces possible resignations within his multicolored coalition that could lead the country to its fifth elections in less than four years or the return of Netanyahu

  • Jerusalem is once again the focus of tensions in a dispute with the justice system over the prohibition of Jewish prayer on the Esplanade of the Mosques and over the celebration of an ultra-nationalist Jewish march

Naftali Bennett can’t take a breath. Lately it seems like every week the Israeli prime minister is going to lose his Executive. It has been more than a month since the Bennett Cabinet rule in minority but the latest crisis augurs electoral winds. The threat of some fifth elections in just four years and a possible Binyamin Netanyahu’s return they are dangerously present in Israeli politics. Meanwhile, on a day-to-day basis, Bennett tries to avoid pressure from the most staunch Jewish nationalists.

When last May 19 Ghaida Rinawie Zoabideputy of the Palestinian community of Israel, left the coalition Alleging that the Government is not committed to improving the conditions of this 21% of the population, the alarms sounded again. For a few days, the opposition caressed the majority. After two days of meetings against the clock and pleading calls, the representative of the leftist meretz announced on Sunday that it had reversed its decision “under enormous pressure from the leaders of the local arab councilswho turned to me and understood the meaning of my resignation”.

But the fragile stability It has lasted rather little. Last Monday the Bennett’s chief of staff announced his resignation, just 10 days after another adviser from his narrow political circle left him. These transfers deal a severe blow to a prime minister on the tightrope at the gates of fulfilling his first year in power. Many already predict that it will also be the last. The controversies surrounding Bennett’s Cabinet stem from its own configuration, with eight political formations of different ideologies united in their opposition to Netanyahu.

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march on jerusalem

Jerusalem has once again become the focus of dispute within the Executive. holding a Jewish ultra-nationalist march through the Old City this Sunday has awakened old fears. It was last year’s edition that finished lighting the fuse of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The cries of “death to arabs” During the march that annually celebrates Israel’s capture of the Old City in 1967 they finished provoke the conflict. Eleven days of war left more than 250 dead in the enclave and 13 on the Israeli side.

“We should not, with our own hands, cause a religious war here or any kind of provocations that could set the Middle East on fire,” warned the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ram Ben Barak, to the Kan radio, after knowing the approval of the route of the march. Unlike last year, this May 29 thousands of Jewish ultra-nationalists will wave their flags around the Muslim quarter of the Old City. So much Hamas as the Islamic Jihad They have already warned of possible consequences from the Strip.

tension with justice

Furthermore, the recent ruling of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court has raised blisters between the Israeli government and justice. The court has rescinded a restraining order against three Jews who had prayed while visiting the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. The Temple Mount – the Jews call it the Temple Mount – in Jerusalem is territory that Muslims and Jews consider sacred, but the latter have forbidden to pray there under an Israeli pact with Muslim authorities. That is why, when the ruling was known, religious and political leaders from Palestine and Jordan have shouted to the heavens.

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For its part, the prime minister’s office itself has reported that it will appeal the ruling. “There is not any change, nor is any change planned, in the status quo of the Temple Mount,” Bennett stressed in a statement. It is being a very tense spring in the holy city, with violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters. The murder of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Aqleh and the repression of his funeral in Jerusalem they have left traumatic images. These events have been the ones that have most tightened the fine threads that hold Bennett’s coalition.

Netanyahu on the prowl

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Now the prime minister is preparing for an imminent visit of US President Joe Biden in late June or early July. The dynamics of the last few weeks do not ensure that it will be Bennett who will receive it. The return of Rinawie Zoabi to the coalition has prevented a vote scheduled for this Wednesday for the dissolution of parliament. But Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history and leader of the opposition since last June, does not give up his attempts to overthrow the Bennett government.

“Depending on those who hate Israel and those who support terrorism“, this is how Bibi, as he is known in Israel, has described the current cabinet, for being the first in more than 70 years of existence which has Arab members in its midst. For now, Bennett continues for another week, although his promises to put an end to years of political chaos and stagnation. In March The next one will be the definitive test of the Executive since it needs a majority of 61 votes to approve the accounts for 2023. Until then, it seems that the Naftali Bennett government will barely make stumbled progress.




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