Netanyahu Assembles the Most Racist, Extremist Cabinet in Israeli History. How Did This Happen? – Left Voice

After a brief hiatus in the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won the November 1 election and are now in talks with the other right-wing parties to form a coalition government. Netanyahu, considered center-right in Israeli politics, has a history of working with far-right politicians, including those openly calling for genocide. However, his sixth government is shaping up to be the most racist, extremist government in Isdraeli history, in large part due to his inclusion of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a notorious legal defender of far-right terrorists. Until 2020, Ben-Gvir hung a photo of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994, in his living room.

Ben-Gvir leads the Otzma Yehudit party, the ideological descendants of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane was so extreme that he was banned from the Israeli Knesset in 1988 and his Kach party was deemed a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU, Canada, and until recently, the United States. However, Otzma Yehudit has been running in Israeli elections since 2013 and finally gained a seat in 2021. This year, they ran as part of an electoral alliance with the Religious Zionist Party led by Bezalel Smotrich, and Noam, a minor party led by Avi Maoz. The alliance won an unprecedented fourteen seats (including six for Otzma Yehudit), making them the third-largest faction in the Knesset. The Labor Party, once a dominant force in Israeli politics, has been reduced to four seats, and the social-democratic Meretz has been wiped out of the Knesset entirely.

Considering Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians even under “center-left” governments, the prospect of an Israeli government with Kahanists in the cabinet is truly nightmarish. Ben-Gvir is already proposing extremist policies, such as relaxing open-fire regulations to allow IDF soldiers to shoot anyone holding a rock or Molotov cocktail. Last October, during one of his provocations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, he brandished a gun and encouraged Israeli police to shoot at Palestinians throwing rocks, just one night after threatening to “mow them down” himself. Even though he claims to have “moderated” his views (he only supports deporting “disloyal” Arabs instead of all of them), his appointment is bound to have explosive consequences.

Netanyahu Assembles the Most Racist, Extremist Cabinet in Israeli History. How Did This Happen? – Left Voice