What Israelis refuse to face is the fact that governments which are predicated on rightwing, far-right, extremist constituencies are inherently unstable.
he collapse of the short-lived Israeli government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid validates the argument that the political crisis in Israel was not entirely instigated and sustained by former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bennett’s coalition government consisted of eight parties, welding together arguably one of the oddest coalitions in the tumultuous history of Israeli politics. The mishmash cabinet included far right and right groups like Yamina, Yisrael Beiteinu and New Hope, along with centrist Yesh Atid and Blue and White, leftist Meretz and even an Arab party, the United Arab List (Ra’am). The coalition also had representatives from the Labor Party, once the dominant Israeli political camp, now almost completely irrelevant.
When the coalition was formed in June 2021, Bennett was celebrated as some kind of a political messiah, who was ready to deliver Israel from the grip of the obstinate, self-serving and corrupt Netanyahu.
Confidence in Bennett’s government, however, was misplaced. The millionaire politician was a protégé of Netanyahu and, on many occasions, appeared to stand to the right of the Likud party leader on various issues. In 2013, Bennett proudly declared “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life—and there is no problem with that.” In 2014, he was very critical of Netanyahu for failing to achieve Israel’s objectives in one of the deadliest wars on besieged Gaza. Moreover, Bennett’s core support comes from Israel’s most extreme and far-right constituency.
Many wished to ignore all of this, in the hope that Bennett would succeed in ousting his former boss. That possibility became very real when Netanyahu was officially indicted in November 2019 on various serious corruption charges.
When Bennett and Lapid’s government was officially sworn in, on June 13, 2021, it seemed as if a new era of Israeli politics had begun. It was understood that Israel’s political camps had finally found their common denominator. Netanyahu, meanwhile, was exiled to the ranks of the opposition. His news began to peter out, especially as he sank deeper into his ongoing corruption trial.
Though some analysts continue to blame Netanyahu for the various crises suffered by Bennett’s coalition—for example, when Idit Silman resigned her post on April 6, leaving the coalition government with only 60 seats in the Knesset. But there is little proof of that. The short-lived Israeli government has collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions.
Would the actions of the government that ruled over Israel between June 2021 and June 2022 have been any different if Netanyahu was still the Israeli prime minister? Not in the least. Illegal Jewish settlements continue to grow unhindered; home demolitions, the dispossession of Palestinian communities in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem and various routine acts of Israeli aggressions against its Arab state neighbors remained unchanged.