Likud, Rightist Parties Clash Over Civil Agenda

Netanyahu Tries to Court Right-Wing, But Can Secularists and Religious Parties Bridge Their Gaps?

Having apparently failed in his attempts to court the Kadima and Labor parties into a grand coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts at forming a far-right government seem to be faltering as well. While everyone seems to be on board for the Likud leader’s hawkish foreign policy, there seems to be considerable split over his domestic agenda.

Before the election there was considerable hostility between the secular right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu and the religious right. Both blocs ultimately supported Netanyahu’s bid for prime minister, but that does not guarantee they will join the government. Indeed, both Shas and United Torah Judaism are pointing to serious problems with Netanyahu’s domestic policies, in particular his support for Yisrael Beiteinu’s goals of civil marriage and easier religious conversions.

Ultimately Netanyahu will need the support of every right-wing faction to have a serious chance at forming a coalition government. But finding a balance that will satisfy all of them seems to be re-emerging as an enormous challenge. Even if he is able to get such a coalition together, the internal strife is likely to leave it one of Israel’s weakest coalitions in recent memory, and may portend another election not far down the road.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.