What to Expect From Israel's New Government: News and Analysis by Haaretz Writers

Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's introduction of the new government, Haaretz explores the implications of the negotiations and of the results.

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The new coalition is one born of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nightmares, writes Yossi Verter. Netanyahu will not be among friends with his new partners Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, both of whom could unseat him at any time. Verter also sheds light on some of the casualties of the new coalition, as well as the last-minute negotiating by Bennett that led to its formation.

As for Bennett most Haaretz writers, including Chaim Levinson, agree that the Habayit Hayehudi leader was the victor of the 33rd Israeli government's coalition talks. Bennett gained several key ministerial positions for his party and also won a great victory with regard to the future allocation of state funds for religious Zionists and their institutions.

Bennett's victories thus signify a shift in political power toward the religious Zionists. Barak Ravid explains how the composition of the new coalition opens the door for unopposed construction, expansion and strengthening of the settlements, which will cost the Israeli public in both the purse and the respect of the international community. In his weakness, says Ravid, Netanyahu may soon be heading a government in isolation - a settler government.

The government's shift towards Habayit Hayehudi and religious Zionists leaves the ultra-Orthodox on the outside looking in, notes Rotem Starkman. The Haredi parties, now confined to the opposition, will lose the capability to make decisions about both the allocation of funds to the Haredi community as well as religious issues such as shmita, the sabbatical year for agricultural activities.

Furthermore, with Bennett, Netanyahu, Lapid and Yisrael Beiteinu MK Avigdor Leiberman occupying the top four seats and precious little evidence of diversity, Israel's government is overwhelmingly dominated by rich white (Ashkenazi) men. It is a colonial government, argues Kobi Niv, devoid of Mizrahi, Arab or female representation, harkening back to 17th-century Europe and designed to oppress the minority and to further bolster their white rulers.

Yossi Verter dives into Likud's inner politics by examining two big losers of the coalition negotiations, longtime ministers Silvan Shalom and Yuval Steinitz, both of whom will be relegated to minor positions in the new government. Verter also discusses three of the big winners - Zeev Elkin, Moshe Ya'alon and Gilad Erdan - Likud cabinet ministers who are in line for substantial promotions.

In the same vein, a Haaretz editorial explores the foundation of racism being laid by the incoming government, starting with a proposed Basic Law that would drop Arabic as an official language of the state. This "insane" bill, enabled by the rise to power of Bennett and Lapid, destroys Israel's image as a democracy and threatens to officially divide Israel's population in two.

PM Netanyahu gets up to give his speech in the Knesset, March 18, 2013.Credit: Emil Salman