- Muhannad Totanji
- BBB – Jerusalem
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu topped the results of the Israeli elections that took place a few days ago.
Partial results of the elections to the Fifth Knesset in the four years and the 25th since the establishment of Israel indicate that the right-wing camp won 65 seats.
This camp includes four parties: Likud (32 seats) and Religious Zionism )14 seats ( Shas Party (11 seats) and United Torah Judaism (8 seats in principle).
After the previous election round, Likud leader Netanyahu sought to restore his popularity in the strongholds of the right, specifically among the religious trend, by strengthening the right-wing alliance to ensure that the right-wing votes, which were usually shared by a group of parties, were not scattered.
Preliminary results showed an increase in the number of votes received by parties affiliated with Netanyahu.
How did Netanyahu win?
After the change camp succeeded in the last elections in bringing down Netanyahu’s right-wing government that lasted 12 years, Netanyahu sat for the second time in his history on the opposition benches.
Netanyahu sought to return to power by accusing the government of being leftist and weakening Israel economically and security.
The deprivation of the religious parties from the ministerial portfolios that they used to obtain and the enactment of special budgets for the religious has raised the issue of the state’s Judaism again, which prompted the religious Jewish public to come out in greater numbers and vote for its parties until they return to power.
What is the surprise of the elections?
However, the increase in the number of seats for religious purists is not the decisive factor in the superiority of the right-wing camp that supports Netanyahu. The ultra-Orthodox party of religious Zionism came as a surprise by getting more than double the seats it got last year.
The speech of the leaders of the party, Bezalel Smotrich and the extremist Itamar Ben Gvir, focused on the need to reintroduce the policy of the iron fist against the Palestinians.
They took advantage of the escalating tension in the occupied West Bank to urge the settler population and the extreme right to support them.
The Religious Zionism Party allied itself with the Otzma Yehudit party led by Itamar Ben Gvir and won the March 2021 elections with six seats in the Knesset.
The Religious Zionism Party is a technical alliance of three right-wing parties that are described as extremist with their attitudes toward Arabs, homosexuals, and other currents.
These parties represent the extremist religious Zionist movement that works to promote settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
The audience for religious Zionism includes a section of the ultra-Orthodox, the Haredim.
What is the Netanyahu camp based on?
The two religious parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas together won 20 seats, according to preliminary results, after years when the two parties stood at 15 seats.
The religious parties consider themselves representative of the daily interests and priorities of their Orthodox audience and are working hard to enter the government to achieve this.
These elections recorded a significant increase in the number of voters for the two parties, due to the public’s fears of the return of the change government, which the ultra-Orthodox parties considered anti-religious.
The two parties are an alliance of a group of religious parties and groups of European origin with extremist tendencies in their religious practices.
These religious reference groups are considered the first, while the state and its institutions represent a secondary framework for them.
The right-wing camp’s promises during these elections included several economic programs, including reducing taxes on soft drinks and single-use items, increasing the education budget for the ultra-orthodox community and Jewish yeshivas, and freezing property tax, electricity, water and fuel.
Will Netanyahu form a hard-right government?
Netanyahu will seek to form his government coalition with the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties.
He is forced to deal with the demands of the hard-line party for important ministerial portfolios.
This constitutes a concern for state institutions and the US administration after Ben Gvir and Smotrich sparked controversy during the events in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
The US State Department said it hoped ministers in the new government would maintain what it described as democratic standards.
The Hebrew Walla website quoted a senior US official as saying that the Americans would not deal with Ben Gvir if he assumed a ministerial position.
Netanyahu will face hard-right pressure on the Iranian file and the Palestinian issue.
In the event that the hard-line party gets the defense and internal security portfolios, this may increase the tension with the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
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