Israel swears in most right-wing parliament in its history, bringing Netanyahu and extreme right to power

Israel swears in most right-wing parliament in its history, bringing Netanyahu and extreme right to power
Israel swore in a new parliament on Tuesday, officially bringing Benjamin Netanyahu back in power and ushering in its most right-wing parliament to date.
2 min read
15 November, 2022
The Netanyahu-led Likud emerged as the largest party in the November election, securing 32 seats in the Knesset [source: Getty]

Israel on Tuesday swore in the most right-wing parliament in its history, after nearly four years of political deadlock and five elections.

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is working to cobble together a far-right and religious governing coalition in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset. Jewish left-leaning parties suffered major losses in the 1 November election.

The surging popularity of a right and far-right-wing alliance once on the fringes of Israeli society helped propel Netanyahu's political comeback even as he stands trial on corruption charges. Lawmakers burst into applause as Netanyahu took the stage for a photo with other party leaders after the ceremony.

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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." 

He had previously warned against granting the far-right elements too much power in the new government.

In his speech after the swearing-in, Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid was blunter.

"We need this house to be a place that Israelis look up to," he said, “not a place they are ashamed of and ashamed of its representatives".

Netanyahu's likely far-right coalition partners have vowed to act more aggressively against Palestinians.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank face systematic persecution including expulsion from their homes, deliberate denial of basic services and amenities and shootings and abuses by Israeli forces.

Gaza is also under a devastating siege by Israel with regular bombings of the densely-populated Palestinian enclave killing thousands of Palestinian civilians in recent years.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have concluded that the systematic abuse against Palestinians amounts to the "crime of apartheid".