Benjamin Netanyahu will be sworn in as Israel’s prime minister for a record sixth term later today, marking a rare comeback for the veteran politician.
Mr. Netanyahuwhose coalition won a clear majority in November’s elections, will head a highly controversial right-wing government.
Cabinet positions for Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has previously been convicted of inciting racism, and Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionist Party, have caused considerable anxiety.
Mr. Smutrich, a vocal supporter of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, will become finance minister and take a position in the defense ministry that will give him broad powers over the occupied territories.
Earlier this year, during protests in the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, he was heard calling for police to shoot Palestinian protesters. He is understood to want to loosen the rules on the use of live fire.
Such are the concerns, within Isra Yale And internationally, that Israeli President Isaac Herzog invited Mr. Ben-Goverr to his office yesterday is a highly unusual move.
“In their meeting, President Herzog expressed deep concern and conveyed to Mr. Ben Gower the voices of the Jewish world concerned about large parts of the nation and the incoming government,” a statement said.
Senior IDF officers have also discussed, publicly and privately, fears of changing the security situation in the West Bank. Outgoing Defense Secretary Benny Gantz said it was “totally predictable” that stability in the region would be affected.
And, already, foreign governments and organizations have begun to make their discomfort known.
The European Union has canceled a proposed cooperation agreement between Europol and the Israeli police, believed to have given Mr Ben Gower access to sensitive intelligence, and the status of illegal settlers in the West. In protest against the plan to change. Bank
The White House has been careful not to publicly criticize or pass judgment on the new government, but has been particularly critical of Israeli behavior in the West Bank since the November elections.
And the United Nations is increasingly concerned that changing the status of illegal Israeli settlers would lead to the effective annexation of West Bank land.
Mr. Netanyahu, who has burned many bridges and alienated political allies during his long career, should lead this fragile coalition.
He himself is on trial for bribery and fraud but is trying to amend parliamentary legislation to end the case.
Senior Israeli legal officials have warned that this could permanently damage the judiciary and democracy.
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