The recent pause announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in pushing a controversial legislative package through the Knesset marks a temporary respite from a concerted plan to challenge and overturn the system of government that has been in place since the state of Israel was created in 1948.
After Netanyahu’s re-election on 1 November 2022, he forged a new coalition in which his own conservative Likud party stood in the unfamiliar position of representing the left end of the coalition’s political spectrum. The coalition includes the Likud, two Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties, the rabidly homophobic Noam party, the Otzma Yehudit (‘Jewish Strength’) party, and the Religious Zionist party. The leaders of Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism (also rivals) are among the most radical people ever to hold positions of governmental authority in Israel’s history.
Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionists and Finance Minister (with an additional portfolio as minister in charge of Israeli settlements in the Ministry of Defense) has publicly expressed his regret that ‘Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job’ of expelling Palestinians from Israel in 1948. In the wake of the settler-mounted pogrom against the Palestinian town of Huwara, he declared that the state should wipe it off the map.