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World leaders congratulate Benjamin Netanyahu on return to power in Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu, chairman of the Likud Party, with his wife Sara at a polling station in Jerusalem, on Tuesday. Prime Minister Yair Lapid conceded to Netanyahu Thursday. The new government will be one of the most right-wing in Israeli history. Photo by Debbie Hill UPI
Benjamin Netanyahu, chairman of the Likud Party, with his wife Sara at a polling station in Jerusalem, on Tuesday. Prime Minister Yair Lapid conceded to Netanyahu Thursday. The new government will be one of the most right-wing in Israeli history. Photo by Debbie Hill UPI | License Photo

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu for his election win and return to power as Israel's Prime Minister Thursday.

Nides tweeted, "I congratulated him on his victory and told him I look forward to working together to maintain the unbreakable bond."

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Netanyahu, still on trial over corruption charges, will lead a far-right government after Prime Minister Yair Lapid conceded the election to Netanyahu Thursday.

Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban was the first to congratulate Netanyahu, tweeting that "Hard times require strong leaders. Welcome back!"

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Netanyahu will lead one of the most right-wing governments in Israeli history. And that could mean fundamental changes in Israeli society.

Some Netanyahu allies have talked, for example, about changing the judicial system raising questions as Netanyahu faces a criminal trial.

According to the New York Times, Netanyahu's far-right allies would like to weaken and overhaul the judicial system giving politicians more control over appointing judges. They also want to loosen Israeli Supreme Court oversight of Parliament.

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The Netanyahu victory came by uniting with what were formerly fringe far-right parties like the Religious Zionist Party. One of the leaders of that party, Ben Gvir, is already demanding control of the Public Security Ministry, according to the Jerusalem Post.

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Gvir was convicted in 2007 of inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Gvir has said if he becomes Security Minister he would move to give immunity to police and soldiers for any actions taken against terrorists, reduce the rights of those incarcerated for terrorism and change the rules of engagement for soldiers.

The liberal Israeli party Yesh Atid said in a statement: "Ben-Gvir, a convicted terrorist who announced that he would cancel Netanyahu's trial, now demands the Public Security Ministry. Netanyahu will be held hostage by Ben-Gvir in an extreme and dark government. They must not be allowed to harm police officers and soldiers and take the country backwards in order to serve one man."

The Israeli far right is often openly hostile to LGBTQ rights, with both co-leaders of the Religious Zionist Party having taken anti-LGBTQ stands. Gvir has called Gay Pride parades "abominations," although last year he publicly softened that stance.

The other leader Bezalel Smotrich was recorded by Israel's Army radio in 2015 saying he was a "proud homophobe" and that gay people should "feel uncomfortable with being abnormal."

According to the Washington Post, Israel's far-right has been associated with nationalist violence. In 1995 then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a far-right extremist.

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