JCRC Congratulates New Israeli Governing Coalition

June 13, 2021

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“Today, Israelis mark the peaceful transition of power. Eight Israeli political parties, forming the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history, have by the narrowest of possible margins broken a seemingly intractable stalemate.

“Comprised of three right-wing, two centrist, and two left-wing Zionist parties, as well as an avowedly anti-Zionist Islamist Arab party, the new ruling coalition reflects Israel’s extraordinary diversity bridging Israel’s ideological, religious, and ethnic divides. Led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the son of American immigrants from Israel’s right-wing Yamina party, and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, from the centrist Yesh Atid (who warmly greeted the JCRC when we met with him on our 2016 trip for state legislators), the governing coalition also features several women in prominent cabinet positions.

“We recognize there is some skepticism of what Israel’s new government will be able to accomplish given that the only thing the parties can seemingly agree upon is that a fifth national election in three years is not an option. There is much to be said, however, for maintaining the status quo on the most divisive of issues while the new government focuses on the threat posed by Iran and its proxies, the national budget and economic issues, as well as national healing in the wake of recent unacceptable sectarian violence and rhetoric within Israel’s borders. Here in the United States, we can also hope that this new Israeli government might be more sensitive to strengthening bipartisan support for Israel and the concerns of the Diaspora.

“The formation of today’s government also marks the end of Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s historic run as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. Controversial at home and abroad, Bibi leaves his successors with the tremendous accomplishment of the Abraham Accords, which passed their first test during the recent Gaza conflict, as well as the still unresolved existential challenge of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As Prime Minister, a member of the Knesset, and as a commando, Bibi’s decades of service to Israel are consistent with the service and ethos of Israel’s first families. As in our own flawed, but robust democracy, the will of the people must be respected and this new government should be given a chance to lead.

“Accordingly, as proud Zionists, we wish the new government much success, and the Israeli people some semblance of normalcy and peace.”

Photo: The newly sworn in Israeli government pose for a group photo at the president’s residence in Jerusalem on June 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/ via Times of Israel)


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