The victory of the extreme right in the Israeli elections was not surprising. The Occupation State is racist and extremist in its founding since its usurpation of the Arab land of Palestine. It was only a surprise and a great shock to many secularists who feared the danger of the domination of the extremist religious right-wing forces and taking the Zionist society to the pre-modern era.
Some stopped when Netanyahu’s camp won 64 seats, and shouted that the government would be an extremist right government and ignored that the opposition would also be from the radical right wing. The right wing’s power is not limited to Netanyahu’s camp. In fact, the Zionist right wing’s power goes far beyond that, as there are 12 far-right MPs more extreme than Netanyahu. The far-right “Yisrael Beitenu” party led by Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s former ally and current opponent, won six seats in the elections. There are six other right-wing MPs in Yair Lapid’s “There is a Future party” and the Israel Resilience Party” led by Benny Gantz. Therefore, the number of MPs affiliated with the right-wing camp is 76, compared to 36 from the left camp and the fragmented centre among the members of the new Parliament. This indicates that the power of the right-wing in Israel is over two-thirds.So, Netanyahu will return in a new, stronger and more solid look. The opposition facing him is also from the wight wing, and they may face off to propose more extreme and racist ideas and positions. This is not strange for Netanyahu as he was raised at home by his father, the right-wing Zionist historian, Benzion Netanyahu, who was opposed to Begin’s policies and against the peace treaty with Egypt that he signed with the late President Anwar Sadat, and the withdrawal from the land of Sinai, which he considers Israeli land where God spoke to Moses from Mount Sinai.
Benjamin Netanyahu is ideological to the core and has a solid political ideology. He believes that the land of Palestine is purely Israeli land, and it is the right of the Israeli people. He believes that the existence of the Occupation State is linked to its absolute military superiority and that its Arab neighbours must fear it. He adopts the Jabotinsky theory, which suggests that the Arabs will not accept Israel until they realise the impossibility of defeating and eliminating it. This is evident from what he said when signing peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, or what he called the Abraham Accords, that they are “peace based on the logic of power”.
Netanyahu dreams of having his name written high in the record of historical Zionist leaders and, perhaps above all, the Zionist names that contributed to the realisation and success of the Zionist project from its foundation, meaning above Ben Gurion, the founder of the Zionist State himself. This is the case with Netanyahu, especially since he is the one who enacted the law of the Jewish State. His strategy is based on a purely Zionist vision, like most Zionist leaders, and he aspires to expand in all of historic Palestine and in the neighbouring Arab countries as well; he had intended to submit a project to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley to the Knesset next July, before the fall of his government, and I wondered, at the time, in a previous article about this, if Netanyahu would be able to achieve this annexation, which Ben-Gurion could not achieve?
When he was Prime Minister, Netanyahu realised achievements – or rather, gains – for Israel such as changing the Constitution and laws that affirm the Jewish nationalism in Israel, the legalisation of settlements, the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the unified capital of the Occupation State and moving the US embassy to it, its recognition of the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights during his reign, and his signing of normalisation agreements with some Arab countries. The huge sums of money they brought in filled the Israeli treasury and paid the budget deficit resulting from the global pandemic, although it is the only nation in the world whose people have been fully vaccinated. We also must not forget that he was the first Prime Minister referred to the judiciary on corruption charges and he is facing a criminal trial during his term.
Yedioth Ahronoth writer, Moran Azoulay, says in light of the euphoria of victory in the elections, no one sees the differences among the parties, but the “Religious Zionist” and “Otzma Yehudit” parties are more right-wing than Netanyahu, and may challenge him and cause him disputes because of the settlement outposts. This is because Netanyahu, himself, promised to organise the Hilltop Youth Movement that works in the West Bank and is causing international outrage, so it is not yet clear to us how much room for manoeuvre Netanyahu has with his right-wing allies. This is especially because the government must be formed by 15 November, and also because of the great demands by his allies in the ministerial portfolios, especially the Ministry of Defence, which Netanyahu definitely will not give up, it is difficult to announce the new government in this short time.
Israeli writer, Tal Lev, says in Maariv newspaper that the victory of Netanyahu and the right-wing bloc in the elections allows him to form a right-wing government without the need for a partnership with the opposition bloc parties. This puts the spotlight on the issue of the position of defence minister and it is likely that Netanyahu will work hard to keep the defence portfolio, but the major political power that the religious forces won in the elections is expected to challenge him.
On the other hand, if Netanyahu insists on taking over the defence portfolio, there is a law that states that a person cannot be a minister with public indictments, and this applies to Netanyahu.
The next few days will show how Netanyahu will manage to overcome the obstacles that await him as a result of differences in the distribution of ministerial portfolios, not only within his right-wing camp, but also within the Likud party itself.
Will it only be corruption that brings down Netanyahu or will there be other reasons?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.