Middle East

'Change Government may bring hope for normalization in Israeli politics'

New coalition to replace 12 years of Netanyahu's rule in Israel

Burak Dag   | 09.06.2021
'Change Government may bring hope for normalization in Israeli politics'


The so-called Change Government in Israel may bring hope for the normalization of security-oriented and anti-peace politics fanned by the extreme centralization of power in the last five years, said an expert.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Haydar Oruc, an expert on Palestine and Israel, described the new equation in Israel shaped on June 2 with the coalition agreement as a "potential turning point."

He said: "Although it is too early to say that political deadlock Israel has been going through for the last two and a half years, has come to an end, we can say that there are only a few days left to voice this claim for the Netanyahu era."

The new Yair Lapid-Naftali Bennett Israeli government, formed by eight parties from the left and right wings, is set to replace former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 years in power in a vote scheduled for Sunday.

The alliance is headed by Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

Touching upon the changing dynamics, Oruc said: "For the first time, an Arab party will take part in the government as a coalition partner, even if not directly, and will be effective in determining government policies."

Oruc stated that ethnic and ideological differences among the new coalition partners stand out and their goal is to terminate Netanyahu's hegemony in Israeli politics.

He drew attention to Lapid’s role in the formation of government by winning 17 deputies in the Knesset.

"However, being aware of the difficulties of forming a government, he did not insist on being prime minister and handed the premiership to Naftali Bennett, the leader of seven-seat Yamina, on a silver platter to enable a government without Netanyahu," he said.


Touching upon the likelihood of normalization in Israeli politics, Oruc underlined that it might have been easier if the process had started with Yair Lapid’s premiership.

He stated that Israeli politicians should prepare themselves for the post-Netanyahu era, saying; "It will be a determining factor for their political future if they choose to favor policies which will appeal to not only the conservatives and nationalists but Arab citizens too."

In this sense, he added: "The fact that international conjuncture, especially the US administration and public opinion, started to turn against Israel, it will force the new government to make peace with Palestine."

Regarding the longevity of the new government, Oruc said: "It would be unrealistic to think that this coalition with the participation of eight parties under Bennett's premiership and only having 62 seats in the 120-seat Knesset will last a very long time."

He said that the coalition partners, whose goal is to end Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister, might fall out.

Religious Zionist at top post

Once having served as deputy of his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister-designate Bennett is known for adopting a religious and nationalist stance, and for his anti-Palestine views.

Gokhan Cinkara, a Turkey-based political analyst and researcher, told Anadolu Agency that with Bennett’s premiership "Religious-Zionism has found a spokesperson at the highest level in national politics."

He said: "Although Yamina leader Bennett began his political career in the Yesha Council and Likud circles, he socialized in important religious-Zionism NGOs such as Bnei Akiva [Religious Zionist Youth Organization]."

He added that 49-year-old Bennett’s rhetoric is hard to be implemented into general Israeli politics, but he will want to make room for himself.

'Historical phenomenon': Ra’am Party

Cinkara described the Ra'am Party's presence in the formation of the government as "a historical phenomenon."

On Ra'am Party leader Mansour Abbas’s deal with Yair Lapid to form a coalition government, Cinkara said: "The fact that around 2 million Arabs living in Israel are not only sending parliamentarians to Knesset but also taking part in the formation of the government is a sign that an important psychological threshold has been crossed."

He went on to say that from now on Israel’s future governments will easily include Arab parties.

On the other hand, he underlined, "Arabs living in Israel will provide grassroots support to the legitimacy of this process thanks to their own gains."

Probability of Turkish-Israel rapprochement

About the chances of Turkish-Israeli rapprochement, Cinkara said that after the formation of a government, "warm-up tours might begin through three channels."

As a first channel, he said that defense ministers-centered diplomacy may warm up the relations quickly, as Turkey's Hulusi Akar and Israel's Benny Gantz also served as army chiefs, which requires a more technical and geopolitical oriented approach to the issues.

Gantz is leading the Blue and White Alliance, which stands out with views in favor of Zionism and social liberalism and is represented by eight deputies in the Knesset.

He said that former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman could be the second channel for rapprochement between the two countries as he has a personal rapport with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and is a staunch supporter of Azerbaijan lobby in Israel.

Lieberman, the leader of Yisrael Beytenu -- that enjoys the support of the Russian-speaking Israelis and Jews -- managed to win seven seats in the elections on March 23.

Cinkara said the third channel could be Ra’am Party leader Abbas, who "represents Muslim Brotherhood politics" in Israel and is one of the main actors in the establishment of the unity government.

He also underlined that the new government is quite ideal in the eyes of the US administration.

"They wanted to see a political culture in Israel suitable for the new politics emerging in the US," he added.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.