The Right and Left in Israel's New Cabinet

Published June 3rd, 2021 - 05:51 GMT
Yair Lapid (left),  Naftali Bennett
The high-stakes push is led by former TV presenter Yair Lapid (left), a secular centrist, who on Sunday won the crucial support of right-wing religious nationalist Naftali Bennett (right), a tech multi-millionaire [Oren Ben Hakoon/AFP]

The new Yair Lapid-Naftali Bennett Israeli government that ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule, was formed by eight parties from the left and right wings.

The prime minister in the new government will alternate for two years each between coalition partners Naftali Bennett, the head of the right-wing Yamina party, and Yair Lapid, the leader of centralist Yesh Atid party.

The coalition includes the United Arab List (Ra'am), the political extension of the southern wing of the Palestine 1948 Islamic Movement -- the first Arab party in the history of Israel to join a coalition government.

Parties with completely different views on issues such as the status of Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and military service of religious Jews, came together to form the government.

The eight-party coalition includes Yisrael Beiteinu, Meretz, Labor Party, and the Blue and White Party.

They agreed to form a government under the joint leadership of Lapid and Bennett to remove Netanyahu.

Below are the main views of parties in the coalition.


Yesh Atid

The centralist party established in 2012 by former journalist Yair Lapid stands out with its support for liberal Zionism and secularism, as well as for the two-state solution.

It joined the anti-Netanyahu Blue and White Alliance but late withdrew and joined the Netanyahu-led bloc in elections on March 2, 2020.

The party won 17 Knesset seats in elections held on March 23.


The party founded by three right-wing parties under the leadership of incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is known for Zionist and far-right views.

Bennett, who entered politics as Netanyahu's deputy in 2005, will be the one who will remove the long-ruling premier if he receives a vote of confidence in the Knesset.

The party, which argues that the West Bank is not under occupation, also opposes the two-state solution.

Yamina secured seven seats in the elections.


New Hope

A center-right party advocating nationalist Zionist views, New Hope was founded in 2020 by Gideon Saar, who left Netanyahu's Likud party.

Saar, who has been serving as education and interior minister in governments led by Netanyahu, was offered the prime minister post by the outgoing leader in efforts to form a government after the elections.

Located on the center-right and represented by six deputies in the Knesset, it opposes a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.


Yisrael Beiteinu

The Israel Our Home Party, which has played a key role in politics many times, was founded in 1999 by former defense and foreign minister Avigdor Liberman.

The secular center-right party, which appeals especially to Jews of Soviet origin, demands religious Jews perform military service and stands out with its revisionist Zionist view.

The party which is against the two-state solution, has seven Knesset members.


Led by Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz entered the political scene in 1997.

On the far left, it advocates social democracy, supports the two-state solution, and opposes nation-state law.

Meretz is represented by six deputies in the Knesset.

Israeli Labor Party

One of Israel's most established parties was founded in 1968 on the center-left line.

Merav Michaeli leads the party which supports the two-state solution.

It defends social democracy and has seven members in the Knesset.


Blue and White

Led by defense chief Benny Gantz, the Blue and White Alliance was established in 2019.

Moving along the center line, it stands out with views in favor of Zionism and social liberalism.

The Blue and White Alliance, which is against the two-state solution, is represented by eight deputies in the Knesset.

United Arab List Ra'am

The political extension of the southern wing of the 1948 Islamic Movement of Palestine was founded in 1996 by Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship.

Contrary to the hesitant tradition followed by Arab parties in Israeli politics, Ra'am said it was ready to support any prime minister candidate on conditions of "improving the living conditions of Arabs of Israel, ending the injustice and marginalization inflicted on them" in efforts to form a coalition government that formed for the first time after the election.

Ra'am, who left the Joint Arab List Bloc, entered the elections after six years and gained four seats.

It rejects the Nation-State Law adopted in 2018, which envisages two different citizen models, takes an anti-Zionist line and supports the two-state solution.

After the March 23 election, President Reuven Rivlin appointed Netanyahu to form a coalition government.

Netanyahu returned to Rivlin on May 4 and said he could not find enough support.

After which, Rivlin gave the mandate to form a coalition government on May 5 to Netanyahu's rival, Lapid.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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