Tough alliance with Arabs indicates obstacle for Netanyahu to stay in power

With 89.3% of the vote cast in Israel, the results of the fourth election in two years still do not indicate who will be the next prime minister, but show that the election, seen as a personal referendum by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu , may have left the country’s political future in the hands of the Arabs.

The irony is that for years Netanyahu has declared that he will never make a political alliance with this minority and, in previous campaigns, has resorted to racist rhetoric associating them with fundamentalist terrorism.

During this electoral cycle, however, he has traveled to Arab communities to demand votes for Likud, his party, or for the Joint Arab List, whose members do not support Netanyahu’s conservative project.

More than a political game, the search for the support of other legends is a matter of survival for the Prime Minister. Currently, his 12 years in power have made him the longest service since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. His tenure, however, is threatened by a series of criticisms against his government, particularly in relation to accusations of corruption for which he is responding to justice.

So although Likud has won the most seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Bibi, as Netanyahu is called, must forge alliances with other parties to secure the majority that would allow him to stay in. power.

In Israel, voters vote for party lists, not individual candidates. Traditionally, no single legend can guarantee 61 of the 120 seats in Parliament on its own, and to achieve a winner, the parties negotiate until a coalition is formed. The difficulties in forming this bloc have been the main factor in the instability of Israeli policy over the past two years.

So far, all parties in favor of Netanyahu have already won 52 seats, while the opposing bloc, 56. Two legends have yet to decide who to support: Yemina (7 seats) and the United Arab List (5). In this scenario, Bibi would need both acronyms to decide whether to support him and, if either side objects, the decision could represent the PM’s departure from power.

Israeli election results with 89.3% of ballot boxes counted

Pro-Netanyahu Bloc – 52 seats
Likud: 30
Shas: 9
Torah Judaism: 7
Religious Zionism: 6

Anti-Netanyahu bloc – 56 seats
There is a future: 17
Blue and white: 8
Israel our home: 7
Labor Party: 7
New Hope: 6
Common list: 6
Meretz: 5

Without defined support – 12 seats
Yemina: 7
United Arab List: 5

Mansour Abbas, the head of the Joint List, is an exception to the political stance of other Arab leaders and has shown signs that he is ready to work with Likud or other right-wing parties, as long as this alliance continues. would translate into social gains. for the plot that represents.

Historically, Arabs, who make up around 21% of Israel’s population, have been the target of discrimination, in addition to being particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and a wave of rising crime rates.

“We want to use not only parliamentary tools, but also government tools to do things in the interest of Arab society,” Abbas said Wednesday, in an interview with an Israeli radio station, showing signs that he is not. ‘does not exclude a more significant participation – and unprecedented, since the Arab parties have never been invited to the government – during the next term.

One of the obstacles to this coalition between Abbas and Netanyahu is an older ally of the prime minister, Religious Zionism, a party whose main names are openly racist and homophobic candidates. Its leader, Bezalel Smotrich, who was once transport minister in the current government, publicly defends that there is segregation between Jews and Arabs.

In some of the more scandalous examples of his prejudiced statements, Smotrich compared homoaffective union to the practice of incest and said he did not want his wife to give birth to an Arab woman. “It’s only natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie down next to someone who gave birth to a baby who could murder our son in 20 years,” he wrote on Twitter in 2016.

Asked whether the Joint List would agree to form a coalition with Likud, the party’s negotiating team leader said his legend was more inclined to form a center-left government – therefore, against Bibi. “We are not going to sit down with racists who threaten us. There are other options for a government,” said Shua Mansour Masarwa, without directly mentioning religious Zionism.

In addition to the Joint List, Netanyahu must also attract the seven seats of the right-wing Yemina coalition (right, in Hebrew), whose leader, Naftali Bennett, was an ally of the current prime minister and has today become a disaffection. In this election, Bennett positioned himself as a possible balance loyalist, without committing to the bloc in favor of maintaining the Prime Minister or the opposing group.

So even though Likud easily won more seats than their opponents, a seam that makes Bibi’s continuity of power possible seems uncertain.

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