Israel Leader Sworn In in Huge Return to Power

Israel Leader Sworn In in Huge Return to Power

( – Benjamin Netanyahu has had a storied career in public service. In 1996, he became the youngest Israeli to ever serve as the nation’s prime minister at 46 years old. Before that, he was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988. In 2021, he left office under a cloud of scrutiny after serving as the longest-tenured person ever to hold the country’s highest office. In November 2022, he won re-election to his previous position.

On Thursday, December 29, Netanyahu returned to power after taking the oath of office. After a year of significant changes facing the Jewish state, he addressed his critics within and abroad. He appointed two nationalists after the Biden administration said it wanted to stop the statesman from moving Israel further to the right. It appears the Israeli leader is pushing forward regardless.

Prime Minister Challenges His Opposition

Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc of parties defeated the establishment’s left wing, securing his victory. It was the first time the conservatives accomplished such a feat since 1992. His party picked up 64 out of 120 seats in parliament. On Thursday, the newly elected leader spoke directly to those who opposed his regime.

Netanyahu said, “This new government is determined to restore governance, peace, and personal security to the citizens of Israel.” He stated he has continually heard the opposition complain that his victory would result in the “end of democracy.” Pushing back harshly, he told them his win and their loss were anything but democracy’s end. Instead, Netanyahu declared it was the “essence of democracy.”

He noted a democratic government tests all sides by acknowledging and accepting the outcome of an election. He added that everyone should respect the rules. The prime minister emphasized he expected them to respect the voters’ choice and stop rebelling against those they elected.

In September, the Biden administration signaled it didn’t want Israel to move to the Right and noted Netanyahu could be a problem for them. Critics inside the country and abroad also opposed the addition of right-leaning individuals such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to the coalition.

One Leader Defends Netanyahu’s New Regime

On Tuesday, December 27, Smotrich wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to counter those who opposed the new government. He argued the US media disparaged him and other traditionalists and referred to him as a “right-wing extremist,” among other slurs.

Smotrich stated critics were getting the new Israeli administration wrong. He said they sought to make freedoms and Democratic institutions stronger and align the country’s government model more with the United States. He stated the new coalition would strengthen Israel in the fight against radical Islam, improve the nation economically, and create more prosperity, benefitting everyone.

Once again, Netanyahu will lead Israel. As Finance Minister from 2003-2005, he pushed the country towards capitalism, lowered tax rates, and saw foreign investments soar to record highs. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the prime minister helped usher in the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. He pushed back against Iran’s nuclear program when much of the world didn’t see the threat.

It appears Netanyahu is preparing to lead Israel into a new chapter.

How will it turn out? Only time will tell.

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