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04/10/2019

Elections in Israel: What will change?

Elections in Israel: What will change?

Israel’s parliamentary elections were held on April 9. While final results have not yet been published, according to preliminary data, the party of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won.

Following the election, a new government will be formed in the country, occupying the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Netanyahu’s Likud party had about 35 seats in the Knesset, while the main rival, the centrist bloc Kakhol-Laban, held about the same. However, as observers note, Netanyahu’s side still has an advantage, since he will be able to enlist the support of numerous right-wing parties to create a coalition government that acts in his favor.

Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, is the former head of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He heads the “Kakhol-Laban” Party (Or “White-Blue,” the colors of the Israeli flag). Having built his entire career in the army, Gantz has never held political office before.

Who is who

The White and Blue coalition is Likud main political rival.

Netanyahu, in the event of the victory of his Likud party, will head the Israeli government for the fifth time – this means he will be set to rule the country longer than David Ben-Gurion, the country’s founder. Netanyahu has led Israel since 1996.

White and blue is led by Gantz and his civilian number 2 Yair Lapid. His campaign was supported by his prominent colleagues, including former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi, the former head of the IDF.

As for geopolitics and foreign relations, Netanyahu is close to US President Donald Trump and Republicans, whereas his opponents are close to the left-liberal Democrats. Although Trump has said that it doesn’t matter to him who wins, since both candidates “are good people,” he has de facto supported Netanyahu’s campaign.

Shortly before the election, Trump signed a document recognizing the sovereignty of the Jewish state over the Golan Heights during the Prime Minister’s visit to the US.

This recognition is contrary to a UN Security Council resolution, which recognizes the Golan as Syrian territory. Trump previously recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (also contrary to a UN resolution) and announced the transfer of the US embassy to the Israeli occupied city.

A few months before the vote, Netanyahu’s position was weakened by a number of political scandals, including allegations of corruption that were brought against him. At the end of March, the Israeli Prosecutor General announced that he was going to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with taking bribes, fraud and abuse of public trust. The Prime Minister has maintained his innocence.

On top of these factors, the center-left position that Benny Gantz occupies has noticeably strengthened in Israel. Particularly popular is Gantz’ call to place term limits on the office of Prime Minister.

Regardless of who wins, Israel’s aggressive policy towards Palestine will continue, along with the brutal occupation of the Golan Heights.

 

 
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