More Cracks Emerge in Israel’s Fragile Coalition Government
MIN READJan 13, 2022 | 18:55 GMT
Israeli Prime Minster Naftali Bennett (bottom center) and members of his new coalition government chat with each other before posing for a group photo at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on June 14, 2021.
(Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Israel’s government, one of the most politically diverse coalitions assembled in the country’s history, is engaging in policy disagreements that could weaken it to the point of collapse. On Dec. 28, right-wing members of Israel’s ruling coalition condemned Defense Minister Benny Gantz after he met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and announced a series of measures designed to boost the economy in the West Bank. Then, on Jan. 1, the Islamist Ra’am party threatened to leave the coalition over an otherwise popular tree-planting project in the Negev desert, where a large part of Israel’s Arab Bedouin population lives. In both cases, coalition members negotiated backroom deals, avoiding their seven-month-old government’s immediate demise. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett assured right-wing lawmakers that Gantz’s meeting with Abbas would not see a return to the peace talks with the Palestinians. And the forestry project has also been paused until there’s a plan...