06/14/2021, 14.30
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Knesset gives birth to first post-Netanyahu executive

After 12 years, the era of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ends. The first obstacle is the adoption of the state budget within 100 days. Bennett maintains two key figures in the fields of domestic and military security. And he assures: "No atomic power to Iran". Bibi promises: “We will be back”. Exponents of the Arab List say the government is "even more to the right" than the previous one.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - After 12 years of tensions, wars and internal outbreaks of violence, a global pandemic, four parliamentary elections in two years, Israel has finally dismissed the Benjamin Netanyahu era and greeted a new government. Perhaps forever, despite the former premier promising a battle.

A mix of parties ranging from the extreme right to the world premiere of an Arab party, which yesterday in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, obtained a narrow majority of 60 votes in favour and 59 against out of 119 deputies present (120 total).

The data again shows the split between those who support - out of loyalty or connivance - Bibi and his opponents who, although divided on various issues, united around the expulsion of the former prime minister.

Today the first meeting is scheduled between Naftali Bennett - an alternation at the helm of the executive with the main ally Yair Lapid in the middle of the legislature - and the outgoing Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history.

During the meeting, scheduled in Jerusalem, the handover will be discussed in a climate of collaboration and continuity. On the subject of security, the rumour is already leaking that Bennett will keep two key players in the high spheres of command: The National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat and the military one Avi Blut.

United by a common desire to put an end to the Netanyahu era, the eight parties that support the majority will focus on some priority issues, trying to put aside the (many) elements of internal division. Their objectives include the need revive the economy and social cohesion plagued by divisions and the health emergency triggered by Covid-19.

Another priority element is to restore citizens' trust in the judiciary and re-establish the division of powers, after the years of controversy and head-on clash between Bibi and the judicial authority, as well as guaranteeing renewed credibility in the ruling class of the country, undermined by corruption.

Net of the union of intentions on some common objectives, however, the deep divisions of an anomalous alliance remain: financing for Arab cities, security in the C areas of the West Bank, internal outbreaks of violence, rights of homosexuals already rejected by the Islamist leader Mansour Abbas. The first obstacle on the horizon, however, remains the adoption of the state budget, which if not reached within the first hundred days of the legislature will lead to the fall of the government.

In his first speech to the Knesset yesterday, Bennett promised to be the premier "representing all of Israel". Thanking his predecessor for the work done, albeit interrupted several times in his speech by members of the Zionist movements, he then relaunched a theme dear to Netanyahu stating that "we will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons".

 In response, the outgoing leader, who remains at the head of Likud and will lead the opposition, assures a "firm" voice that will fight against the current coalition until it has been overthrown. And that soon “we will return to lead the nation”.

One of the recent cases to spark violent clashes was Mount Meron, where a tragedy occurred at the end of April during a religious festival, the first post-pandemic, which caused dozens of deaths. Former Justice Minister Benny Gantz has promised to establish a government commission of inquiry on the matter. "This - he warns - is a moral and ethical debt that we owe to the families [of the victims]".

The leader of Ra’am Mansour Abbas, fundamental in the birth of the alliance, has promised to fight for the return of the lands in Israel that were once "expropriated" from the Israeli Arabs. "This is a national issue of the first degree", he affirmed.

Then, interrupting the speech in Hebrew, the Islamic leader then recalled that “we come from different nations, from different religions, from different sectors. But there is one thing that connects everyone and that is citizenship ", and then the right-wing accusation that the executive will" sell the south "to his party is rejected.

Those critical of the new alliance include Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash party and of the alliance of Arab Parties Common List, who speaks of "a bad government". "We are looking for a different type of cooperation between Jews and Arabs, based on peace, equality, democracy and social justice that we do not see in this government”.

He is echoed by the deputy and member of the Joint List Ahmad Tibi, according to which the new executive is even more to the right than the one chaired by Netanyahu, whose expulsion remains "good news" after years of "division and hatred". "But the alternative - he concludes - is a right even further to the right" with a tightening of "settlements".

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