Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn in Israel’s new government, making it the sixth longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history.
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, this Thursday ratified a new government led by Netanyahu, with his ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners.
Thus, the most right-wing executive in Israel’s history was satisfied with a majority of 63 MPs from the six parties that make up the coalition, three of which are openly racist and Jewish supremacists.
Netanyahu thus begins a new term after spending the past year and a half as opposition leader facing a corruption trial on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
“I swear, as prime minister, to maintain loyalty to the state of Israel and its laws, to faithfully fulfill the duties of prime minister and to respect the decisions of the Knesset,” Netanyahu said, as his other cabinet ministers took the oath.
On Thursday, the session in the parliament lasted several hours, during which hundreds of demonstrators protested the new government and its policies.
Very controversial figures
Half of the executive branch belongs to Netanyahu’s Likud, 11 to the ultra-orthodox Sephardic Sha party, seven to the ultra-orthodox Ashkenazi United Torah Judaism, seven to the far-right religious Zionism, six to the ultra-orthodox religious Zionism. Right wing Jewish power and one for homophobe Noam.
Ahead of the vote, it also approved the appointment of Amir Ohana as Speaker of Parliament, making him the first openly gay politician to hold the position. Ohana is a prominent member of Likud and held the position of Minister of Justice and Public Security in previous governments.
In the parliamentary session before the vote, Netanyahu also announced the ministers of the new government, including highly controversial figures, with a total of 30 ministers, only five of whom will be women, four fewer than in the previous government.
Among the most controversial figures in the new cabinet are Jewish supremacist Itamar Ben Gvir as minister of national security; his partner Bezalel Smotrich as deputy minister of the Ministry of Defense, responsible for policy in the occupied West Bank, as well as minister of finance; and homophobic Orit Strack as Minister of National Missions.
Some of the most important portfolios will be held by members of Netanyahu’s party and loyalists, such as Eli Cohen in Foreign Affairs, Yoav Galant in Defense, Israel Katz in Energy and Yariv Levin in Justice.
In addition, the ultra-Orthodox Aryeh Deri was named interior and health minister after a law was approved this week allowing him to be appointed, despite being disqualified earlier in the year after being convicted of tax fraud.
These and other laws and initiatives by the new government as part of a major judicial reform have raised alarm bells in Israel, where many politicians, analysts, judges and even diplomats have warned of a rapid and dangerous erosion of the democratic system.
Source: El Diario