Historian warns of dangers posed by the new government in Israel

Historian warns of dangers posed by the new government in Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu

The re-elected prime minister at a cabinet meeting.

(Photo: IMAGO/UPI Photo)

Tel Aviv Prominent Israeli historian and publicist Tom Segev warns of the new coalition government in Jerusalem. This is “more dangerous than previous alliances”.

What worries him even more is that Israeli society is shifting more and more to the right. “In this sense, the new coalition Israeli society,” he says in an interview with the Handelsblatt: “Never before have so many right-wing extremist and racist parties been organized in the Knesset.”

was the end of December the new ultra-right government of re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu been sworn in. The new government wants to advance the controversial construction of settlements in the West Bank. Critics therefore accuse her of exacerbating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

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it got in Israel Although there are always all sorts of manifestations of racism, as in other countries, says Segev. However, the decisive and central role that these parties would now play was something new for Israel. He was “pretty shocked”.

In contrast to foreign analysts, who mainly wrote about the strengthening of orthodoxy, he is particularly worried about the anti-Arab nationalism of many of his compatriots. “Now more than ever, nationalism and racism define Israeli relations with the Palestinians.”

Segev also considers it questionable that some politicians known to be frauds had been elected. These include Arie Deri, who will initially receive two ministries and will later become finance minister under a rotation agreement – ​​he of all people who was convicted of tax fraud a year ago.

Protests against the Israeli government

There is also criticism of the coalition among the population.

(Photo: IMAGO/Sipa USA)

Segev explains the population’s shift to the right by saying that most Israelis no longer believed in the possibility of a compromise with the Palestinians, “at least not now”. In addition, Netanyahu, who was prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and then from 2009 to 2021, created the illusion that everything was under control, even if there were terrorist attacks from time to time.

Liberal and secular parties do not want a coalition with Netanyahu

The majority is therefore convinced that dramatic, painful compromises towards the Palestinians are not necessary and that the Israelis do not have to give up anything for the time being. Incidentally, the Palestinians no longer believed in a compromise either.

Netanyahu’s popularity can also be explained by the fact that the economic situation has improved significantly over the many years of his reign. “Most citizens were better off than ever before.”

>> Read here: “King Bibi” weaker than ever: Netanyahu has made himself dependent on extremists

With the new coalition, “King Bibi”, as the news magazine “Time” called him ten years ago, has become dependent on radical political parties. There are also liberal and secular center parties in parliament that could form a majority government with Netanyahu and his Likud party.

But because Netanyahu is on trial, they don’t want to know anything about working with him. They would not participate in a government headed by a prime minister implicated in a corruption and bribery trial, they say.

Segev describes this attitude as commendable, “but it is politically more dangerous than useful”. It gives the radical parties access to the government table without the center parties having a moderating influence there. The historian therefore suggests examining whether the court proceedings against Netanyahu can be postponed until he is no longer in office. Segev’s calculus: As soon as Netanyahu is no longer under indictment, a more moderate alliance could emerge.

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