A day after losing his post as prime minister after 12 years in command of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu showed that he should not make life easier for the new government by refusing to participate in a ceremony that would mark the handover of power on Monday ( 14).
The seasoned politician also declined to greet or even take a photo with his outgoing successor, far-right Naftali Bennett – who heads a broad coalition made up of eight parties, including an Arab acronym and two guilds on the left.
Shortly after being elected by Parliament as the new Prime Minister on Sunday evening (13), Bennett officially took office. In keeping with tradition, however, a public ceremony was to take place on Monday to mark the passing of the baton, with Netanyahu symbolically handing over the baton to his successor.
With the political veteran refusing to participate, the new government only met with President Reuven Rivlin. According to local media, Netanyahu and Bennett met behind closed doors for just 30 minutes to work out the details of the transition, and they are unlikely to have any other type of meeting to discuss the matter.
Besides Netanyahu himself, some of his former ministers also refused to participate in the groundbreaking ceremonies for each of the files that were scheduled for Monday.
Another sign of tensions in the country, the now former Prime Minister – who now leads the opposition – on Monday met the leaders of the parties that still support him and asked for their support to “rescue the State and the people of Israel. “. as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
“[O novo governo] it can be reversed if we work together and have fierce discipline. If we fight, we won’t succeed, ”Netanyahu said after the meeting, which took place after his brief conversation with his successor.
The former prime minister also said that the new coalition is based solely on “fraud, hatred and the search for power” and that it is too heterogeneous to give stability to the country.
Israel has been going through a political crisis for more than two years, during which time four elections were held. All the elections, however, ended with inconclusive results, with no party or bloc having a majority in parliament – which allowed Netanyahu to remain in power for that time on an interim basis. As a result, he became the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history.
Much of the population, and members of Parliament themselves, blamed Bibi himself – as the then Prime Minister is called – for the situation, as his polarizing figure ended up hampering negotiations for the formation of ‘a new government.
The solution thus found was to unite all the parties which oppose Netanyahu in the same bloc and thus obtain a majority in the Parliament, which has 120 seats. This is what happened on Sunday, when the House approved the new government with 60 votes for and 59 against.
By arrangement, Bennett, who heads the radical right-wing acronym Yamina, is expected to be prime minister for the next two years. After this period, who takes over is now Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who heads the centrist Yesh Atid, the longest acronym of the coalition.
Thus, the biggest challenge for the new government is to maintain the new functional block despite internal political disagreements. Bennet, for example, was once an adviser to Netanyahu and is ideologically much closer to him than some of his newer partners, like the left-wing Meretz party and the conservative Arab acronym Ra’am – the first Palestinian association to officially join. a government in the history of Israel.
The prime minister’s first major challenge should also take place on Tuesday (15), when a march organized by right-wing nationalist groups in East Jerusalem is planned. The act was initially authorized by the Netanyahu government and received consent on Monday from the new Minister of Public Security, Labor Omer Barlev.
The fear is that the event will lead to a further increase in animosity between Jews and Palestinians, as the march is expected to pass through East Jerusalem, including arriving near the Mosque Esplanade – organizers have called for the protest to pass through East Jerusalem. enters the site, but police have yet to say whether they would allow that to happen.
Muslims’ access to the site was the trigger for the conflict that erupted last month between Palestinians and the IDF, which lasted for 11 days and ended in a shaky ceasefire.
The Palestinians claim the region of East Jerusalem, where the Mosque Plaza is located, as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the city to be indivisible and must remain under its control.
“It is a provocation against our people and an aggression against our Jerusalem and our holy places,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday. The radical Hamas group, which controls the Gaza Strip and has led the recent conflict with Israel, has said it will adopt retaliation if the event goes as planned.