‘Bibi’ rejects opposition criticism and says that “losing the elections is not the end of democracy”
MADRID, Dec. 29 (.) –
The new Government of Israel has taken office this Thursday after an act in Parliament marked by a concentration of hundreds of people in front of the Knesset to protest against the incoming Executive, which has several far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties in its ranks.
The vote has resulted in the support of 63 of the 120 parliamentarians after a session that started with a speech by the now Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has presented his political agenda, focused on confronting the Iranian nuclear program, developing the infrastructure public and improve security in the face of the latest terrorist attacks.
Netanyahu, who has been subjected to insults during his speech, has accused the opposition of not accepting the results of the elections on November 1. “I hear the constant cries of the opposition about the end of the country and democracy. Losing the elections is not the end of democracy, it is the essence of democracy,” he pointed out.
“In a democracy we do not climb the fences of the Capitol or the fences of the Knesset,” he said, as reported by the newspaper ‘The Times of Israel’. Likewise, he has reiterated that the new government will work to “restore governance, tranquility and the personal security of the citizens of Israel.”
“A democratic regime is put to the test by the willingness of the losers to accept the majority of the opposition,” he said, according to Arutz Sheva. “In an orderly democracy, the rules of the game are respected. We have just seen it in a different context, in the World Cup final, when the French supporters were disappointed, like you, but accepted the result. They even applauded the team Argentine”, he explained.
Thus, Netanyahu has acknowledged that he “does not expect” the opposition parties to “applaud”, but has stressed that “they are expected to respect the decision of the voters and cease their rebellion against the elected government”. “It is the sixth time that I present a government under my leadership. I am as overwhelmed as the first time,” he concluded.
Likud allies are pushing a series of legal and political changes that the opposition says alienate much of the population and threaten to unleash full-scale conflict with the Palestinians, especially over the possible annexation of territories. in the West Bank through further expansion of settlements, considered illegal under international law.
In fact, Netanyahu affirmed on Wednesday in a series of messages on his account on the social network Twitter that “the Jewish people have the exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas in the Land of Israel” and announced that he will promote the expansion of the settlements in West Bank, something criticized by the Palestinian Authority, which has also charged against the role that several far-right leaders will play within the Executive.
‘Bibi’, who is the person who has held the post of prime minister of Israel for the longest time, has also presented the members of his government, made up of 31 ministers and four deputy ministers after weeks of negotiations with the Likud coalition partners .
Among the latest appointments revealed are Eli Cohen, a Likud MP, as the next foreign minister, and former US ambassador Ron Dermer as strategic affairs minister. In addition, Yoav Kisch will be Minister of Regional Cooperation, which will add to his position at the head of the Education portfolio, while Gila Gamliel will be Minister of Intelligence.
The Executive will also be made up of Yoav Gallant as Defense Minister; Bezalel Smotrich as Finance Minister –rotating–, a position that will add to one in the Ministry of Defense; Yitzhak Goldknopf as Housing Minister; Aryeh Deri as Minister of the Interior –rotating– and Minister of Health; and Itamar Ben Gvir as Minister of National Security.
Likewise, Amichai Chikli will be Minister of Diaspora and Social Equality; Israel Katz will be in charge of Energy –rotating–; Miri Regev will be in charge of Transportation; Yariv Levin will be Minister of Justice; Avi Dichter will be Minister of Agriculture; Ofir Akunis will lead the Innovation and Science portfolio; and Yaakov Margi will lead the Welfare –rotating–.
For her part, Idit Silman will be Minister of Environmental Protection; Haim Katz will lead Tourism; Michael Malkieli will lead Religious Services; Nir Barkat, from Economics; Yitzchak Wasserlauf, from Development of the Negev and Galilee, Ofir Sofer, from Aliyah and Integration; Miki Zohar, from Culture and Sports, Shlomo Karhi, from Communications; and Orit Strock, of National Missions.
Finally, Amichai Eliyahu will be Minister of Heritage; Avi Maoz will be deputy minister in the prime minister’s office dedicated to Jewish Identity; Moshe Abultbul will be Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Moshe Arbel will be Deputy Minister of the Interior and Health; and Galit Distal Atbaryan will be deputy minister in the prime minister’s office.
In this way, Netanyahu’s Likud will have 17 of the 33 positions, while Shas will have seven, Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit will have three, United Torah Judaism will have two and Noam will have one. Of the total, only five are women.
For his part, the outgoing prime minister, Yair Lapid, said in his speech that he is handing over power “with a restless heart.” “We delivered a country in excellent condition, with a strong economy, improved security capabilities and a powerful deterrent. Try not to screw it up. We’ll be back soon,” he said.
In this sense, he has listed a series of measures implemented by his government, including the deepening of ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Morocco –signatories of the ‘Abraham Accords’– and the agreement with Lebanon for the demarcation of the maritime border.
The session has been marked by a demonstration in front of the Knesset headquarters in which hundreds of people have participated who have chanted slogans against racism and corruption -in reference to the trial against Netanyahu on these charges- and have promised ” end the darkness.”
“‘Bibi’ and Ben Gvir are destroying democracy”, indicates one of the banners of the protest, in which many Israeli and rainbow flags have also been seen, given concerns about the presence within the coalition of openly homophobic politicians.
In fact, the leader of Religious Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich, has expressed opinions against the LGBTQ community in the past, as has Avi Maoz, leader of the far-right Noam, who will control the content taught in schools. Maoz has described himself as a “proud homophobe” and called liberal stances within Judaism “dark.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog recently expressed concern over several comments by politicians in the incoming coalition government, which even led Netanyahu to clarify that discrimination on religious grounds will not be enshrined in law. In this sense, Herzog declared himself “concerned” by the increase in “comments against the LGTB community and against any different group or sector.”