Netanyahu passes budget, steadies his rule and eyes judicial change again

JERUSALEM — Since he took office nearly six months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has been in turmoil — troubled by unprecedented protests within its ranks and on the streets across the country. Now, after targeting militants in the Gaza Strip and thwarting an insurgency by coalition partners, the passage of the budget this week is a rare moment of unity and stability for the fractious coalition of right-wing nationalist and religious parties.

Netanyahu quickly suggested he could use the comfort window to roll back explosive proposals to take control of Israel’s judiciary, which he suspended in March in the face of mass protests against them. had done

Yohanan Plessner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem, said “With the passage of the budget, Netanyahu has more freedom.” “Now he needs to decide what he wants to do with it.”

Israelis demand concessions for the ultra-Orthodox in the latest protests.

Wednesday’s vote to approve the biennial national budget, a routine piece of parliamentary housekeeping that has become increasingly fraught in a divided country, was a moment of danger for Netanyahu’s fragile partnership. Far-right and ultra-Orthodox factions have threatened to withhold votes unless the government pours more money into programs they control, including millions for a parallel yeshiva school system that has been awarded national math and science awards. Teaches religion while ignoring standards.

Failure to meet the budget deadline would have led to the automatic collapse of the government. A fate that befell an alliance in 2020. — and Netanyahu conceded to the demands, hastily committing more than $130 million to religious programs and projects supported by the far-right settler leader. Itamar ben GvirMinister of National Security.

Netanyahu’s political touch eluded him as Israel spiraled into chaos.

Critics have criticized the last-minute deals as evidence that Netanyahu is beholden to his most loyal partners. He reprimanded. A “Gift” to the Growing Ultra-Orthodox Sectorwhich seeks greater influence on religious and secular society.

But the protesters were chanting “shame on you”. In the pre-dawn darkness outside the Knesset on Wednesday, the fiscal package was approved by a four-vote margin, giving the government two years before the next budget fight.

Netanyahu hailed the document as a “responsible, sound budget that will faithfully serve the citizens of Israel.” Opposition leader Yair Lapid called it “blackmail”.

“While you were sleeping, the worst and most disastrous budget in Israel’s history passed. Nothing positive, nothing to help fight the cost of living,” Lepid tweeted.

Within the regime, the moment may signal at least a temporary shift from the turmoil that has plagued it.

Almost immediately after taking power months ago, hardliners launched a major effort to overhaul the judicial system and curtail the Supreme Court’s powers. The move, which began without public preparation, sparked months of strikes, mass demonstrations and protests by military reservists. Some Israeli diplomats resigned, and world leaders, Including President BidenHe condemned this move as anti-democratic.

Amid reactions that create cracks in unity, Netanyahu withdrew the law in March. And expressed willingness to negotiate with the opposition.

The government was slow to find its footing in other ways. Critics say the cabinet has done little to address rising inflation, which is above 5 percent, and high homicide rates, particularly among Arab-Israeli communities. Netanyahu unsuccessfully tried to appoint a Liquid hardliner as his consul in New York and another as head of the National Statistics Office. Defense Minister Yves Gallant remains in his job despite being “fired” by Netanyahu in a dramatic televised address at the height of the court protests.

“After serial bungles, just passing a budget seems like a feat,” Pilsner said. “So far, this government doesn’t have a track record of success, and Netanyahu understands that.”

Unrest has taken hold, with polls showing the coalition would lose 10 seats and a Knesset majority if elections were held today. For the first time, more Israelis say former defense minister Benny Gantz, not Netanyahu, is the “best fit” to become prime minister.

Netanyahu also came under fire from the right for not responding forcefully enough after Islamic Jihad militants initially fired more than 100 rockets at Israel. Following the death of Palestinian hunger striker Khudr Adnan in prison on May 2. Ben Guerre began a boycott of parliamentary votes to protest the lack of military action.

Those far-right lawmakers rejoiced a week later when Israeli planes killed six Islamic Jihad commanders in sudden airstrikes. On the neighborhoods of Gaza. At least 33 people were killed in Gaza and two in Israel. Five days of violence after this.

The Gaza operation pushed Netanyahu’s support to the right. This, and getting the budget on the line, gives him a chance to restore a sense of control, central to his cultivated image as a political master.

“For her, the important part is being able to say ‘I’m the only one who can handle the circus of Israeli politics,'” said Dahlia Sheindlin, a Tel Aviv-based pollster and campaign consultant.

But it is not clear that he can keep his allies in line. Israeli media reports suggest that Netanyahu would like to quietly bury the judicial reform plan and the fierce opposition it has provoked. But pressure from the right to bring it back is already mounting, with Justice Minister Yario Levin reportedly threatening to resign if his pet initiative is not reinstated.

Proponents of the revision see it as crucial to reining in a judiciary that they believe has usurped legislative powers and is hopelessly biased toward Israel’s leftist elite. Critics say it’s a power grab that will upend the long-standing balance of power between the legislative and judicial branches and send the country down a path of dictatorship.

Talks between coalition and opposition leaders are ongoing with no confirmed reports of progress. Asked shortly after the budget vote if he expected the issue to return, Netanyahu said: “Of course. But we are trying to reach an understanding.” [in negotiations]. I hope we will succeed in this.”

Opponents of restoring the courts said the protesters would return to the streets.

“After spending an unprecedented amount of state revenue to buy off the threats of ultra-Orthodox and far-right settler party leaders, Netanyahu revealed that he intends to press ahead with judicial change,” Josh said Drill, a spokesman for an umbrella organization of the protest. Groups “Israel is in danger, and only public protest can stop this dangerous legislation.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *