Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony where Israel President Isaac Herzog handed him the mandate to form a new government following the victory of the former premier’s right-wing alliance in this month’s election at the President’s residency in Jerusalem November 13, 2022.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today confirmed his return to command of Israel, but this time at the helm of the most right-wing government in its history, with extremist parties and Jewish supremacists as partners, which seek to reinforce the nation’s Jewish identity and reduce powers of the judicial system.

Although the swearing in of the new Executive before Parliament, which is in recess, will still take a few days, Netanyahu informed the president, Isaac Herzog, on Wednesday that he already has majority support to head another government.

These are the main figures and the positions they will occupy, according to the preliminary agreements signed with each party:

-Benjamin Netanyahu: At the head of the Likud party (secular right), the controversial former Israeli prime minister returns to the pinnacle of power, which he has held for fifteen years, supported for the first time by the extreme religious and Jewish supremacist right. He does so with an ongoing trial in three pending corruption cases, but still backed by a loyal fan base who affectionately call him “King Bibi”.

– Itamar Ben Gvir: Condemned in the past for inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization, the leader of the anti-Arab Jewish Power party represents the most extremist sector of the new government, a defender of deporting “terrorist” Palestinians. He will occupy the Ministry of National Security, with strengthened powers over the police both in Israel and in the occupied territories – where he lives as a settler – as well as the ability to press charges and dictate the general policy of the body, above the general commissioner. .

– Bezalel Smotrich: Settler in favor of a strong hand with the Palestinians and leader of the Religious Zionism party, he will occupy the Ministry of Finance for the first half of the legislature -from where he aspires to allocate more public money to the study of Judaism- and the Ministry of the Interior in the second. But also, in the absence of the approval of a law that he himself has demanded in exchange for supporting Bibi, he will hold a position with the rank of minister within the Ministry of Defense, where he will control the division that deals with dictating civil policy and the construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, heading one of the most important ministries for Israel.

– Aryeh Deri: Almighty leader of the ultra-orthodox Sephardic Shas party. He has held important ministerial positions since the 1990s and, according to the coalition agreement, he will hold the Interior and Health portfolios for the first half of the legislature, and Finance in the second. He will also be deputy prime minister for the entire term. But for this, he needs a new law to be approved in extremis in Parliament in the next few days, which would allow him to be a minister. Deri was disqualified from doing so at the beginning of the year after being convicted of tax fraud. The new law would only disqualify senior public officials who have gone to prison, part of the sentence that was suspended in his case when he reached a plea agreement.

– Yitzhak Goldknopf: Leader of the Ashkenazi ultra-orthodox coalition United Torah Judaism (JUT) and representative of its more radical Hasidic faction. He will be the Minister of Housing, a relevant position for the Haredi community, the sector of the population that is growing the most in Israel. During the negotiations, he demanded that power plants across Israel stop operating on Shabbat, more sex-segregated beaches, increased religious studies in secular schools, and a clearer law exempting ultra-Orthodox youth from military service. although the Likud only gave in on this last demand.

– Avi Maoz: Leader of the homophobic and racist Noam party, he compared gays to pedophiles and defends sexual conversion therapies. He appointed Deputy Minister of Jewish Identity, within the Prime Minister’s office, with powers over education, where he wants to impose a religious program even in secular schools. He also wants to modify the law of return, which currently allows anyone with a Jewish grandparent to immigrate to Israel, so that only people with Jewish roots on the maternal and paternal side are eligible. He also rejects conversions to Judaism other than through the orthodox path.

– Yariv Levin: Netanyahu’s confidant and strong man within the Likud. He temporarily occupies the position of President of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) to promote the legislative agenda that his government partners demanded to support an Executive led by Bibi. After being key in this maneuver, his friend will predictably hand over the Ministry of Justice, which will play an important role in the open trial for corruption of the new prime minister.

– Yoav Galant: Former Chief of the General Staff and member of the Likud since 2018. He appears as a clear candidate for Defense Minister, although his powers will be drastically reduced when the law demanded by Smotrich is approved to head the Ministry and assume command of everything related to the occupied West Bank.

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