Tags: Israel | Politics

Israel Swears in New Parliament, Most Right-wing in History

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 11:00 AM EST

JERUSALEM (AP) — After nearly four years of political deadlock and five elections, Israel swore in the most right-wing parliament in its history on Tuesday.

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is working to cobble together a far-right and religious governing coalition in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset. The surging popularity of a right-wing alliance once on the fringes of Israeli society helped propel Netanyahu's political comeback even as he stands trial on corruption charges.

The 25th Knesset was sworn into office with trumpets and choral music just hours after a Palestinian assailant went on a deadly rampage in an Israeli-controlled industrial zone in the occupied West Bank, killing three Israelis and wounding three more before being shot dead. Netanyahu's likely right-wing coalition partners have vowed to act more aggressively against Palestinian attackers to protect Israelis.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog appealed for national unity in his speech after the country's five divisive elections, saying Israelis are “exhausted from the infighting and its fallout.”

“Now, the responsibility lies first and foremost with you, the public’s elected representatives,” he said. “Responsibility to try to wean us off this addiction to never-ending conflicts.”

Herzog also called on the elected representatives to safeguard the rights of Israel's minorities who fear the next government coalition — expected to be overwhelmingly male, religious and right-wing — will roll back the achievements of its predecessor on issues like the environment, LGBTQ rights and funding for the Arab population.

“There are also communities, and especially minorities, who are fearful that their needs will not be on the agenda,” he said. “You, the public’s elected representatives, must give this your consideration and keep them in your sights, too.”

The new parliament replaces one of the most colorful and diverse in Israel’s history, which had an all-time high of 36 women and a small Arab Islamist party in the government for the first time in history. This Knesset has just 29 women. Its 23 new lawmakers mostly come from Netanyahu's Likud party and the alliance of far-right parties known as Religious Zionism.

The number of Arab lawmakers plummeted to its lowest level in two decades, the Israel Democracy Institute reported, with just 10 Arab lawmakers out of 120. Balad, a Palestinian nationalist party, failed to make it into parliament, partly a result of low voter turnout among Israel’s Arab minority.

Meretz, a left-wing party that has long championed Palestinian statehood, also dropped out of parliament entirely. In his speech, Herzog said the party “will be missed." The Labor Party, which ruled Israel for its first two decades, barely scraped into parliament with just four seats.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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After nearly four years of political deadlock and five elections, Israel swore in the most right-wing parliament in its history on Tuesday. Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is working to cobble together a far-right and religious governing coalition in the...
Israel,Politics
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2022-00-15
Tuesday, 15 November 2022 11:00 AM
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