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After Israeli vote, AIJAC expresses hope for period of stable government

Nov 3, 2022 | AIJAC

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

With polling now over in Israel and the votes being counted, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expressed the hope that Israel will soon have a stable majority government after four inconclusive election results over the last four years.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein stated, “The votes are still being counted, but at this point, it appears likely that former PM Binyamin Netanyahu will be well placed to once again form a coalition government. AIJAC offers its congratulations to Mr. Netanyahu and wishes him all success as he begins the process of seeking to negotiate with potential coalition partners to obtain a Knesset majority, and establishing a cabinet to govern Israel on behalf of all its citizens, as he pledged after the election.

“Regardless of one’s political opinion, it is to be hoped that, after the last four years of repeatedly deadlocked election outcomes and two shaky and short-lived governments, Israel can now have an extended period of stable government under a coalition with a solid Knesset majority.”

Dr. Rubenstein also said, “AIJAC also offers our gratitude and appreciation to the members of the outgoing government, including Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, who led it at various times. The outgoing, very diverse coalition government deserves credit for some significant accomplishments over its 16 months in office. These include maintaining security in the face of growing terrorism from the West Bank rooted in the decline of Palestinian Authority governance, furthering the growth and vibrancy of the Abraham Accords with Israel’s Arab neighbours, and implementing policies to better address the needs of Israeli Arab communities. However, Israel has many long-term challenges that can only really be addressed by a government able to maintain policy continuity over several years.”

He added, “One concerning issue in this election has been the apparent electoral success of far-right extremist Itamar Ben Gvir, and his Jewish Power party, running as part of the larger Religious Zionism list. Mr. Ben Gvir is a former disciple of the late Jewish racist extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, and while Ben Gvir has somewhat softened his anti-democratic and anti-Arab rhetoric in recent months, his rise is nonetheless genuinely worrisome for anyone who cares about the future of Israel’s vibrant democracy, multicultural society and liberal values.

“Ben Gvir’s success can largely be attributed to growing unease and fear in Israeli society caused by resurgent Palestinian terrorism, the ongoing Hamas rocket threat from Gaza, and the terrible scenes in May 2021 when Israeli Arab mobs in mixed Jewish-Arab towns attacked Jewish bystanders, homes, businesses and synagogues. Nonetheless, Mr. Ben Gvir’s ugly rhetoric and deplorable promotion of discriminatory and harsh measures are not the answer. AIJAC therefore hopes that any new Israeli government will seek to marginalise his highly negative influence.”

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