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Sharp criticism of Netanyahu’s government plans

Despite a majority in parliament, the Likud leader is struggling to form a government. He has to make concessions to the extreme right, which even his fellow party members criticize.

The homophobic politician Avi Maoz will play an important role in Israel’s education sector. Parents, teachers and communities are fighting back.

Amir Levy/Getty

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc won a clear majority in parliamentary elections a month ago, taking 64 of the 120 Knesset seats. After years of political turmoil, Israel could finally have a stable government again. Shortly after the November 1st election, Netanyahu announced that he would quickly form a new government. But the coalition negotiations are dragging on.

However, some personnel decisions of the future head of government are certain. And for many Israelis, they send shivers down their spines. Half of the electorate voted against Netanyahu and he is already feeling the effects.

No state for all citizens

A personnel issue that is currently causing a stir is the appointment of Avi Maoz as deputy minister in the prime minister’s office. In this function, the 66-year-old will take over the Office for Jewish Identity created especially for him. Maoz is the leader of the one-man faction Noam and a right-wing fundamentalist who has made a name for himself with homophobic statements.

The spiritual mentor of Maoz and his party is Rabbi Zvi Thau, who rails against progressive and liberal Israelis, accusing them of wanting to destroy Israel’s Jewish character. It is interesting that the Israeli police recently attacked the rabbi, who sees family values ​​in society at risk Investigations into suspected rape initiated in several cases.

His student, Maoz, will play an important role in education in his new role. An authority is subordinate to its board of directors, which is responsible for those teaching programs and learning content that the schools are free to design. In secular schools, for example, this includes inviting human rights activists and LGBT representatives.

With the help of these programs, the consciousness of the students is manipulated, Maoz railed in an interview. There are around 3,000 curricula written by “radical, left-wing organizations”, funded by foreign foundations and the EU. They wanted to make Israel a state for all of its citizens. He will make sure that changes, Maoz said. “Thats my job.”

Netanyahu is weaker than ever

As soon as the details of Maoz’s portfolio became known, community, teacher and parents’ associations went on the barricades. The municipalities play an important role because they finance the so-called external education programs in the schools. So far, about 70 community associations, led by Tel Aviv, have written in a letter saying they would not cooperate with Maoz’s future department. There is resistance even from Netanyahu’s own party, the Likud.

Netanyahu tried to calm things down by declaring that his government will protect the rights of all citizens and that the prime minister has the authority to set guidelines. Moderate Likud supporters hope that the 72-year-old will prevent extreme excesses. Despite his clear election victory, Netanyahu is politically weaker than ever in his long career.

Parliamentary elections in Israel on November 1, 2022

Allocation of seats in the Knesset

120 seats

Our house of Israel

6

seats

National unity

12

seats

Religious Zionism

14

seats

United Torah Judaism

7

seats

By making the long-outlawed right-wing extremists acceptable, Netanyahu has given himself over to their desires. Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, will take over the Ministry of National Security in the new government, previously the Ministry of Public Security. In addition to the regular police, the ministry is also to be responsible for the paramilitary border police in the occupied Palestinian territories, which previously came under the command of the army.

“Arsonists supporting Jewish terrorism”

The appointment of Bezalel Smotrich as finance minister and deputy defense minister has even more far-reaching consequences for the army and the Palestinians. The head of the Religious Zionism Party will take over control of the military administration in the occupied territories at the Defense Ministry, Israeli media reported on Monday.

The lawyer, who only briefly completed compulsory military service for all Israelis, will determine the army’s actions in the West Bank and the controversial settlement policy. “The new lord of Judea and Samaria” was the headline of the popular newspaper “Israel Hayom”. Smotrich wants to dissolve the military administration in two years, the newspaper reported. In fact, this would amount to an annexation of the occupied territories.

Circles within the army and the secret service, as well as former generals, are warning of an escalation of the conflict with the Palestinians. Netanyahu put the country’s security in the hands of “arsonists who support Jewish terrorism, harm the army and its commanders” tweeted Netanyahu’s former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.

Targeting the Supreme Court

In addition, the planned disempowerment of the Supreme Court is causing trouble. With a so-called “overriding clause”, the Knesset should be able to collect judgments of the court in the future. The right has been firing sharp shots at the court for a long time. First and foremost, however, the priority is to enable the chairman of the ultra-orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, who has been convicted of tax evasion, to be appointed minister.

Along with Deri, Ben Gvir is also a convicted felon. Netanyahu himself is on trial for corruption. The government must be in place by Christmas at the latest. But it is already clear that, unlike in the past, Netanyahu will not simply be able to govern.


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