by Ariel Kahana
In the current Israeli political reality, everything is personal. Gone are the days when politicians argued over policy and ideology.
With Bennett now one year in office, it is clear that the government policies of Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid are not that different from those of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu was never particularly right-wing: He maintained the justice system, failed to enforce Israeli law when it came to the Bedouin and the Arabs, at one time supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, and made construction in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem difficult.
Bennett and Lapid are not particularly left-wing: Bennett has refused to say the words “Palestinian state,” has blocked the opening of a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, authorized some construction in Judea and Samaria and begun to enforce Israeli law in Arab communities.
There are no ideological differences in the socio-economic field either. This government, just like Netanyahu’s, believes in an open market and assistance to the weak.
Since 2019, there have been no disputes over policy. There have been no disputes over ideology. There is no disparity in how the governments function. All of the political turmoil shaking up Israel is the result of a struggle among a small number of people with huge egos. That is equally true of Netanyahu and his rivals.
The silent majority is begging Knesset lawmakers to grow up, stop poisoning people’s minds, put an end to the insanity, and start working for us. That is the only thing they expect their representatives in the government to do.
Main Goal is to Keep Netanyahu from Power
There must be good and valid reasons for this, if
so many Israeli political leaders are saying and agree about it.
“I won’t help bring back Bibi. It wouldn’t be good for the country – it would be exactly the opposite. We need to do everything possible to prevent further elections, and that is what we did for a long period. We proved that change and cooperation are possible." - Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope), Israeli Justice Minister
“He (Netanyahu) has exhausted all the political trust you can give him.” - Benny Gantz (Blue and White), Israeli Defense Minister - after Netanyahu proposed that Blue and White join a new right-wing transitional government in the current Knesset ahead of new elections.
“First off, let it be known that the elections now are a result of intrigue, lies, and the subversion committed by one man – his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. And it is the same with all the previous elections. Israel Beytenu’s main goal in this election is to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from returning to power.” - Avidgor Libermann (Israel Beytenu), Israeli Finance Minister
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak
After four elections a leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, was not able to create a government. Any self-respecting person would have stepped down from politics a long time ago. Bibi has managed to achieve the impossible - he united Zionists with anti-Israel Arab parties, and Capitalists with Socialist into ‘strange mirage’ coalition, which has survived longer than anyone expected. The last year, in spite of the threat from Iran and unfriendly administration in the White House, he has done all he could to destabilise and bring the current government down. Does Israel need another inconclusive election? Are there any Likud members left that are able to end the personality cult and return Likud party to its true Zionist roots?
International donors pledge $160 million for UN Palestinian refugee agency. UNRWA was established to provide education, health care, food and other services to the 700,000 Palestinians. There are now 5.7 million Palestinian refugees, including their children and grandchildren (and grand-grandchildren). Israel and the US have long accused UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by extending refugee status to millions of descendants, rather than limiting refugee status only to the original refugees as is the norm with most refugee populations worldwide. (Actually, the number of so-called Palestinian refugees was around 460,000, it almost doubled after the UN created UNRWA to distribute ‘help’ to them. They ran away during the War of Independence, following orders of the Arab leaders, to accommodate genocide of Jews by advancing Arab/Muslim armies.)
survey predicts 55 seats for the Bennett-Lapid bloc, while parties led by Benjamin Netanyahu predicted to gain 59 seats; survey also showed increased support for the Religious Zionist Party with 10 predicted seats. Neither of the rivalling blocs in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, will get a majority of 61 seats to form a stable government.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, his Saudi counterpart Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, and military officials from Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates met last March in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss military cooperation between the countries involved, with particular focus on the aerial threats posed by Iran.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with the two agreeing that close cooperation would continue in combating threats emanating from Tehran.
A new Israeli border guard force is officially launched. The force is being established specifically to handle internal security situations in times of emergency, such as the massive Israeli Arab rioting that took place in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in support of Hamas during Operation Guardian of the Walls last year. The new recruits, all volunteers, will be trained in riot-control methods, and will be able to keep their weapons and equipment at home so that they have access to them at all times.
EU Ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzanchev said: "Israel can be an important alternative source of energy. We not only speak about gas but about innovative sources of electricity."
Quote of the Week:
"I still admire and respect Bibi for all he’s accomplished, but was no longer prepared to vote for the Likud under his leadership. While the current government is not one I would have chosen to put together, I’m glad he’s no longer prime minister. I wish the Likud would replace Bibi and let others rise into leadership, particularly those whom he’s stifled and pushed aside for years." - Jonathan Feldstein, president of the Genesis 123 Foundation and RunforZion.com – Well said!
by Itamar Eichner
The 36th government of Israel, helmed by Naftali Bennett, survived for only a year, but even during that short time it has achieved a number of goals promised to the public during the election campaign.
The complex coalition, however, that includes eight political parties from both Left and Right sides of the political map - Jews and Arabs, religious and non-religious - had poor odds at survival from the start.
In 2022, six rockets were fired from Gaza - not resulting in any casualties. The government stopped the containment policy toward Hamas and responded to every incendiary balloon and missile launched from the Gaza Strip, while simultaneously stopping cash transfers for the terror group that rules the Palestinian enclave.
On the Iranian front, according to foreign publications, Israel has carried out several assassinations of Iran's senior officials and key figures involved in the nuclear program. In addition, the IDF increased its raids in Syria to end Tehran's attempt to set up shop in the region and smuggle weapons to its Lebanese proxy of Hezbollah.
The government persuaded the US not to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its notorious list of terror organizations. Bennett's government has also managed to maintain very good relations with the Americans on the Iranian issue, even restoring relations with the Democratic Party and bipartisan support for Israel.
The government was also able to strengthen the Abraham Accords, but did not extend it further by signing additional peace treaties with other countries.
For the first time in three years, a state budget was passed, allowing government offices to operate properly after a long period of paralysis.