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Who's who in the new ultra-right wing Israeli government

Things do not augur well for either Israelis, the local Israeli Arab population, the Palestinians and, indeed, the West.    Israel has just had the most ultra-right wing government in its history come to power.

"Although Israel's elections took place back in March, the various parties have been at each other's throats over actually cobbling together a coalition that could run the country. Wednesday night, Netanyahu was finally able to put together enough coalition partners to meet the threshold to form a government.

The result is an Israeli government that is perhaps the most extreme in Israel's history. While Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party retains control of the Prime Minister's office, various parties even further to the right grabbed other key positions, guaranteeing that the country at least continues if not escalates its rejectionism with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear deal.

Here are some of the major players:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Netanyahu has driven US-Israel relations to their lowest point in a generation, and defeated his centrist opponents with a last minute racist warning that Arab voters were turning out to the polls in “droves.” His political party Likud explicitly opposes a Palestinian state, and most of its candidates in this election ran on rejecting the two-state solution.

Justice Minister Ayalet Shaked: In a coup for the rising far-right Jewish Home party, its leader Naftali Bennett was able to compel Netanyahu to grant control of the Justice Ministry to Ayalet Shaked. Shaked has explicitly called for genocide targeting the Palestinians. She believes the “entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and that Israel must destroy its “elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” Bennett says that a Palestinian state is “just not going to happen. A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next 200 years.”

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon: It looks as if Yaalon, from Netanyahu's Likud Party, will retain control of the Defense Ministry. Yaalon spoke at a conference in Jerusalem this week where he warned that in a future Lebanon war “we are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion...we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.”

Foreign Minister Unfilled: Because Israel's Foreign Minister resigned and took his party out of the governing coalition, this effectively will leave the country without a separate foreign minister. The New York Times suggests that “Netanyahu himself will double as foreign minister for now,” while others believe Netanyahu may be holding the position open to possibly bring in someone from the opposition such as the Zionist Union's Isaac Herzog.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett: The rising leader of Jewish Home will control the Education Ministry. Bennett has been known for his racist and dehumanizing rhetoric against both Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Palestinian citizens of Israel. The party's education platform discards with concepts such as human rights and democracy. Rather, it says its “most urgent task is to create a Jewish-Zionist educational unit to operate in the State of Israel’s public school system. … HaBayit HaYehudi will spearhead a nationalist plan to promote Jewish and Zionist identity among all students from grade 1 through grade 12.”


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