With Bibi caste aside, what and who will govern the future of Israel?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday was inadequate to build a new coalition which may become a reason for his ousting from the Israeli parliament Knesset. If this happens, the governing party Likud will be sitting in opposition for the first time in a decade.

Israel has been going through political turmoil for the last two years where no political party can come up with a majority. Israeli figurehead president Reuven Rivlin will give chance to Netanyahu’s opponents to prove the majority and form a coalition government. If Netanyahu‘s opponents are not able to come up with a majority, the country will go into another election; which will be the fifth election in two years. Netanyahu will remain in power till the next successor is chosen, this will give him breathing room. He will use his influence and powers as a president to dispose of the series of bribery charges against him, meanwhile doing everything to return to the office. Israel going into another election is very much possible. An unstable political environment does not promote a healthy economic and social environment along with security concerns. Netanyahu’s opponents who have deep ideological differences have joined hands together only for one goal – kicking out Netanyahu. Netanyahu via his social media handles has warned people against this coalition, stating it will put Israel in a dangerous situation. 

Who is/are likely to replace Netanyahu?
Naftali Bennett Who was Netanyahu‘s ally but has parted his ways is most likely to lead the country if Netanyahu goes away. Bennett is a 49-year-old politician with an American lineage. He was an entrepreneur who shifted to rightwing politics maintaining a religious-nationalist political position. He says that he is more right-wing than Bibi but does not use polarisation or hate. Bennett believes in a Jewish nation-state, insist on Jewish historical and religious claims on West Bank in Jerusalem and Golan Heights, a territory near the Israel-Syria border. If Bennett comes to power dreams of Palestinians for negotiation, peace and independent nation-state go down the toilet.

Bennet has to join hands, possibly share power with Yair Lapid who is the leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid. He was a journalist before entering into politics, served as minister of finance from 2013 to 2014. Lapid received support from 45 lawmakers, also stands in the line of becoming the head of State of Israel. Bennett and Lapid are both at odds when it comes to political views and opinions. But as they say, the enemy of your enemy is your best friend Bennett and Lapid will join hands and head the Israeli Parliament in rotation. If at all Netanyahu is ousted and Bennett and Lapid headed coalition comes to power it will bring parties from left, right and centre to the political spectrum. This may mean more chaos, more disagreements and unstable parliament because too many cooks spoil the broth.

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Why is Netanyahu being ousted?
Netanyahu is trying to remain in office by hook or crook. He is soon going to be put on trial for fraud, corruption, bribery in series of scandals and breach of trust. He is using his power and influence to silence prosecutors, possibly seek immunity from prosecution. The killing of 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews is another smack in the face for Netanyahu. His former aides left his side because of deep ideological differences like Bennett. Supporters of Netanyahu dug his grave, New hope party which is anti-racist supported Netanyahu but later refused support because of Arab partners. 

What is the corruption trial of Netanyahu?
During his fourth and fifth term as prime minister, he and his close aides were allegedly involved in several corruption scandals. He was charged with fraud in cases named case 1000 which deals with bribery, case 2000 deals with recorded conversations media Moghul, case 3000 deals with corruption in the Israel – German submarine deal, case 4000 is about favours to a telecommunication company and case 1270. The investigations began in December 2016, police recommended indictment against Netanyahu. He tried everything in his power to stall proceedings, publication. Netanyahu has been repeatedly trying to get immunity from prosecution. In 2019 he was officially charged with breach of trust, bribery and fraud, because of which he had to give up ministry portfolios other then Prime Minister. 

How did Netanyahu rise to power?
Known as king Bibi, Benjamin Netanyahu has been prime minister of Israel for the last 15 years becoming the longest-serving leader ever. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1949 and moved to the US. He returned to Israel at the age of 18 and spent five years in the army and where he took part in the Beirut airport raid and fought the Middle East war of 1973. After the death of his brother Jonathan in a rescue mission in Uganda, he set up an anti-terrorism institute in his memory, becoming Israel’s deputy chief of mission in Washington in 1982. Jonathan is a celebrated martyr in Israel. He soon became a familiar face on US television and an advocate for Israel. He was appointed Israel’s permanent representative at the UN. After returning to Israel in 1988, he became involved in domestic politics and earned the seat of the chairperson of the Likud party. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, he became the first directly elected and the youngest prime minister of Israel. He lost election once to Ariel Sharon in 2001, revived back as prime minister of Israel in 2005. He is a staunch opposer of the creation of the State of Palestine saying it would happen over his dead body.

What did the recent Israel-Palestine conflict do to Netanyahu’s position?
Israel Hamas conflict of 2021 has strengthened the prospects for Benjamin Netanyahu to remain prime minister of Israel. It was like a stitch in time. Gaza’s Hamas rulers waged the fourth war in a decade against Israel. Dozens of Palestinians were asked to surrender their homes in the East Jerusalem area because of the belief in the historic rights of Jewish people. The gathering site outside old Jerusalem’s city which is used for offering prayers during the holy month of Ramadan was closed by police. These events were the last straw in the already sensitive issue, the protests began. There are speculations that Netanyahu‘s desperation to retain the prime ministerial office may have pulled Israel into this mess. This unrest diverted attention from removing Netanyahu towards establishing peace and security. Political experts believe that Netanyahu may not have conspired in this war, but he successfully manipulated this event to his benefit. They believe he decided the amount of fuel to be put in this fire. He is famously called a ‘magician’ for achieving this feat before.
What is the road ahead?
Ousting Benjamin Netanyahu may be an easy task, but gathering left, right and centrist parties into a coalition are like waiting for pigs to fly. All parties maintain different Political ideologies, values, views and opinions. The only thing common between them is hatred for Netanyahu. It is uncertain to say how long this aversion will keep them glued together. Once the hatred is over will there be another election? President Rivlin will now give chance to Bennett and Lapid to make a coalition and prove their majority. Political analyst like Dahlia Scheindlin believes that the coalition won’t be coming to fruition. This coalition is utopian and political setbacks have become a common norm in the last two years. People of Israel believe that this coalition will be a breakthrough, but there are so many factors that can turn the tables.

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Aishwarya Ingle

I am a person who believes in freedom of human mind. A free mind is highly creative and imaginative. Imagination is not a cloth that is to neatly folded in a box, but it is fire. It can light an entire jungle or a single matchstick, it depends upon the free environment.

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