Is Netanyahu’s current government coalition falling apart?

“A few months ago, I met Israel’s former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Moshe Ya’alon. The only question I asked him in private was answered with complete serenity and clarity: “Do you think that Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) can really keep alive this current government coalition? His response was blunt: “No”. At that time, not only Ya’alon was on a “political tour” in Washington, DC after announcing his interest in running for prime minister. Weeks before, Ya’alon had been dismissed from his post as Defense Minister of Israel and replaced by Yisrael Beitenu’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman. When Ya’alon told me that I thought he was crazy, or that he was just lying to me. The security with which the current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, expresses can lead us to think that he is the one who really leads the country’s agenda. That Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett are just “part” of the coalition. However, this is not truth. The recent approval of a bill to restrict granting any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians in a future peace agreement is alarming. This new law establishes that in order to cede any portion of Jerusalem, the support of 80 Knesset members is needed. Nevertheless, and under this new law, the right benefits greatly. If in the future they become a minority in the Knesset, a center/liberal government would have lots of problems if it tries to grant any portion of Jerusalem. To me it is clear that if any serious future peace talks with the Palestinians happens, under a center/liberal government (to the fullest), they will probably propose to share sovereignty with the Palestinians in Eastern Jerusalem.

Something like what Former Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have proposed in the past. Although in the past Yasser Arafat rejected this idea, Mahmoud Abbas has been more inclined to support this proposal. Abbas knows that the conflict is at its peak, and if he does not decide to “grab” something now, he could be left with nothing. However, under this new law this might be impossible. On the other hand, Trump’s current Peace Plan proposal is not something that the Palestinians will accept. Even though the US has frozen $65 million dollars in assistance to the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East to try to push the Palestinians to the negotiation table, the Palestinians will not move forward if the kind of laws that I just described are approved by the Knesset. On the other hand, the precedent that has been established with the approval on first reading of  a bill that will let judges to condemn someone accused of terrorism in a military court-without an unanimous decision-, is extremely worrying. All this shows one thing: Netanyahu does not really leads his coalition.

Recently adopted measures show that, in its eagerness for not losing power, Bibi has promoted policies that undoubtedly do not match with what he believes. But why is he doing that? Failure to support these initiatives could lead Netanyahu and his Likud party to lose voters from orthodox and national-religious voters. Undoubtedly, recent corruption cases, along with his political and personal ambitions, have led Netanyahu to take harsh measures against undocumented African refugees and civilians in the country, to support the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem and to allow his party to approve a resolution in favor of the annexation of the West Bank. Netanyahu is aware of all this, but even so, he has the luxury of taking Israel not to be a Jewish state, but to be a state that violates the human rights of those who escape from ethnic conflicts in Africa. I consider that instead of allowing the ultra-Orthodox rabbinic establishment in Israel and the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption to determine whether someone is Jewish or not based on their skin color, or the type of Judaism they practice, it should be a matter of major concern for Netanyahu everything said before.

Instead of establishing diplomatic relations with African countries with really poor democratic values and with countries that violate the human rights of their own citizens, Israel must move away from corruption. Israel has to become more plural and less racial. Israel must give lessons of welcome and not of rebuff. That despite the fact that after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 more than 850,000 Jews were expelled from the Arab countries, this small tiny Middle Eastern country gives a breast of tranquility to those who need it most. That is why, in my opinion, Bibi cannot lead that Israel of the future.”

About the Author
José Lev Gómez is an MA candidate in Security and Intelligence at the University of Buckingham in England and has a degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Israel Studies from the American University in Washington, DC. José has interned at the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, at the College Republicans National Committee and The David Project in Washington, DC. In addition to his interest in Spanish politics, diplomacy and security issues in the Middle East, José has worked as coordinator of events related to Israel for American University Hillel and as an events assistant for the Center for Israel Studies at the American University. He recently completed a diplomatic internship at the Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation in Washington, DC. In addition to collaborating with this newspaper, José writes for Diario Judío (Mexico) and has written for newspapers such as El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), El Vocero de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico), Latino Rebels (United States) and Red Alert Politics (United States). José is the author of two books: "Panorama Internacional: Una mirada a la geopolítica e historia mundial (2016-2017)" and "Puerto Rico: El nocivismo del insularismo y el colonialismo", and he completed his final project in Israel Studies on the "Relations of Israel with Basque and Catalan Nationalism.
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