In June 2021, just 18 months ago, I wrote …
“Israel’s Prime Minister for the past 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu, is officially out of power. In his place is Naftali Bennett who was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59.
What this will mean remains to be seen. Over the past 12 years, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics. He’s not only successfully implemented a series of right-wing policies, such as entrenching Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but also consolidated a dangerous amount of power in his own hands. He is currently on trial for corruption charges stemming from, among other things, his attempt to buy off media outlets.”
Given the amount of turmoil and political chaos here in the U.S. over the past several years, it’s no surprise that I have not kept up as much as I would like with events ‘round the globe, so imagine my shock when I read last month that Netanyahu will be returning to power. According to an article on November 3rd in Al Jazeera …
A coalition led by the right-wing former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a majority of seats in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, allowing the controversial figure to return to power.
Final election results announced on Thursday show that Netanyahu and his ultranationalist allies – many of whom were considered beyond the pale in Israeli politics only a few years ago – won 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, with 32 of those seats going to Netanyahu’s party, Likud.
As prime minister-delegate, Netanyahu is in the process of forming Israel’s most extreme right-wing government to date. Two groups of people stand to lose the most in the immediate future: Palestinians and the LGBTQ community. A moving article by a Palestinian lawyer, Diana Buttu, helps us understand some of the trepidation by Palestinians living in the West Bank, saying that, “The atmosphere of racism is so acute that I hesitate to speak or read Arabic on public transportation. Palestinian rights have been pushed to the back burner.”
I find it amazing that a nation populated by the descendants of the most persecuted people ever in history can be so bigoted against another group of people. Did the Jewish people learn nothing from the fact that another racist, Adolf Hitler, was directly responsible for murdering some six million of their grandparent’s generation, for trying to eradicate their entire populace? I’ve said before that Netanyahu is a bigot, and that so many were willing to vote his party back into power, knowing he would be once again elevated to Prime Minister, makes me wonder what the people of Israel are thinking … or are they even thinking? Are they like some portion of people in this country who don’t think about who would be the best leader, but rather who puts on the best show?
Already Netanyahu’s new coalition allies are pondering laws against the LGBTQ community. Netanyahu is set to form the most ultranationalist and religious government in Israel’s history between his Likud movement and several openly anti-LGBTQ parties. This has raised fears among Israel’s LGBTQ community that the new government, expected to take office in the coming week, will roll back gains made for LGBTQ rights in Israel in recent years. Netanyahu insists that there will be no harm to LGBTQ rights in his upcoming government, but already several of his coalition partners are planning to curtail the rights of the LGBTQ community.
One member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has posited that hospitals should be allowed to refuse to serve LGBTQ people. Another said that private business owners, such as hotel operators, should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ “if it harms their religious feelings.” Harms their religious feelings??? WTF???
Again, I shake my head at the bigotry coming out of a country peopled by those who suffered the most from the same sort of bigotry 70 years ago. I see no good to come out of Netanyahu’s return to power and I find it highly puzzling. Netanyahu is set to be sworn in on Thursday, although I understand there are still some hurdles to be scaled before that can happen. On an international level, I see this as yet one more right-wing authoritarian regime being added and I find it deeply concerning.