Israeli far-right coalition promises 'Torah Study' law

Israeli far-right coalition promises 'Torah Study' law
Other commitments include legalising West Bank settlement outposts, plans to ‘Judaise’ the Galillee and Negev, and nebulous promises of ‘strengthening Jewish identity’.
2 min read
22 December, 2022
The new government has been dubbed the 'most right-wing in Israeli history' [Getty images]

A new far-right coalition in Israel has announced plans to place Jewish religious study at the heart of the Israeli legal system, days before they take power. 

The Likud-led planned government had agreed to table a quasi-constitutional Basic Law enshrining Torah study as "a fundamental principle in the heritage of the Jewish people", the Religious Zionism Party statement released on Wednesday evening said.

As well as gearing the Israeli state towards the religious right, the far-right party pledged "significant and historic reform" of the legal code. Analysts say this may point to previous contentious plans to overhaul the judicial system to reduce oversight of political activity in Israel

Likud is yet to publish a statement of its commitments to its coalition partners, but far-right figures such as Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich will be given key ministerial posts.

Netanyahu is reportedly offering their Religious Zionism party pledges to legalise West Bank settlement outposts, plans to "Judaise" the Galillee and Negev - both areas with significant Palestinian populations - and nebulous promises of "strengthening Jewish identity". 

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Veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had formed a new Israeli government on Wednesday, returning to power as the head of the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history.

Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption allegations in court, has already served as premier longer than anyone in Israeli history, including a 1996 to 1999 stint and a record 12-year tenure from 2009 to 2021.

His mandate to conclude coalition talks had been set to expire at midnight.

Minutes before the deadline, he informed President Isaac Herzog by phone that he had "been able to establish a government," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

The statement confirmed Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party would govern in partnership with the main ultra-Orthodox parties and members of the extreme bloc that ran under the Religious Zionism alliance.