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Israel’s New Coalition Takes First Steps, Including Mending Fences With U.S.

Israel’s New Coalition Takes First Steps, Including Mending Fences With U.S.
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Israel’s New Coalition Takes First Steps, Including Mending Fences With U.S.

Israel’s New Coalition Takes First Steps, Including Mending Fences With U.S.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s fragile new coalition authorities gave a primary glimpse of its priorities on Monday, as ministers introduced plans to restore Israeli ties with the U.S. Democratic Occasion and the Jewish diaspora, examine a catastrophe at non secular web site final month that killed 45, and allow a far-right march by means of Jerusalem on Tuesday that some worry will result in violence.

The raft of initiatives highlighted the complexities and contradictions of the brand new coalition, which changed Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities Sunday night time in a confidence vote in Parliament that handed by only a single vote — 60 votes to 59, with one abstention. The coalition is an unlikely alliance of the onerous proper, the left and the middle, in addition to — for the primary time in Israeli historical past — an unbiased Arab celebration.

The coalition’s bulletins on Monday additionally underscored how its insurance policies diverge from Mr. Netanyahu’s on some points, however proceed his strategy to others.

In his first main speech in workplace, the brand new international minister, Yair Lapid, promised Monday to revive Israel’s relationship with American Democrats. That bond frayed underneath Mr. Netanyahu, who antagonized President Barack Obama, befriended his Republican successor, President Donald J. Trump, after which used his final speech in workplace on Sunday to blast President Biden as being harmful for Israel.

“The outgoing authorities took a horrible gamble, reckless and harmful, to focus completely on the Republican Occasion and abandon Israel’s bipartisan standing,” Mr. Lapid stated in a speech to international ministry officers.

Mr. Lapid added: “We discover ourselves with a Democratic White Home, Senate and Home, and they’re indignant. We have to change the best way we work with them.”

He additionally promised to strengthen ties with Jews abroad, as a substitute of relying totally on the help of evangelical Christians, who shaped a key focus of Mr. Netanyahu’s worldwide outreach.

“The help of Christian evangelicals and different teams is essential and heartwarming, however the Jewish persons are greater than allies, they’re household,” Mr. Lapid stated. “Jews from all streams — Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox — are our household.”

The brand new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, expressed opposition Sunday towards American-led efforts to revive a lapsed Obama-era nuclear cope with Iran. However he additionally thanked Mr. Biden for his help for Israel, and spoke quickly after taking workplace with the American president.

Individually, Benny Gantz, the protection minister, issued a proper name for a fee of inquiry right into a stampede at a holy Jewish web site on Mt. Meron, northern Israel, in early Might, which killed 45 worshipers. The transfer marked a transparent divergence from Mr. Netanyahu, whose authorities relied on the help of ultra-Orthodox politicians, and didn’t name for an investigation for worry of angering them.

However the brand new authorities additionally caught to a dedication made within the ultimate days of Mr. Netanyahu’s administration: the choice to allow a far-right Jewish march by means of Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which critics worry might result in a violent escalation with Hamas.

The march is a rescheduled model of a procession initially deliberate for final month that was among the many causes Hamas cited for firing rockets towards Jerusalem on Might 10, setting off an 11-day air battle between the group and Israel.

On Monday, Hamas vowed to reply if the march was allowed to go forward, elevating the specter of both renewed rocket fireplace or confrontations between Palestinian residents and Jewish marchers.

Regardless of the warning, the brand new public safety minister, Omer Bar-Lev, who now oversees the Israeli Police, determined Monday to push forward with the occasion, also called a “flags march.”

“The flags march might be happening,” Mr. Bar-Lev stated. “Jerusalem is Israel’s everlasting capital. In a democracy, it’s permitted and you will need to maintain demonstrations and marches like these, so long as they’re in accordance with the regulation.”

His phrases had been provocative to many Palestinians, who — together with a lot of the worldwide group — view East Jerusalem as occupied territory and don’t contemplate it Israeli.

Hamas threatened violence if the march went forward. “The so-called flags march that’s slated to be carried out tomorrow by teams of settlers might be tantamount to setting off an explosion in a brand new battle to defend Jerusalem,” a Hamas spokesman, Abdel Latif al-Qanou, informed reporters in Gaza.

The march posed an unwelcome dilemma for the coalition barely 12 hours after it succeeded Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving chief.

If the federal government had rerouted or canceled the march, it risked the wrath of its right-wing members, who would contemplate {that a} capitulation to terrorists and may even have resigned, instantly threatening the coalition. By sticking to the plan, the federal government angered its leftist and Islamist factions — a few of whom had publicly expressed their opposition to it.

The freighted selections underscored the frailties of the brand new coalition, which few commentators consider will final a full time period.

To keep away from pointless rifts, the coalition leaders — Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lapid — have pledged to deal with rebuilding the financial system and bettering infrastructure, and to avoid divisive questions just like the Israeli-Palestinian battle. Mr. Bennett is a former settler chief who opposes Palestinian sovereignty and helps settlement enlargement within the occupied West Financial institution. Among the members of his unlikely new authorities, nevertheless, search an finish to the Israeli occupation and help a Palestinian state.

The dilemma confronted by the Bennett authorities on Monday confirmed how troublesome these irreconcilable variations might be to disregard, even with the perfect of intentions. Later this month, additional tensions are anticipated over pending choices about whether or not to shut a brand new unauthorized settlement within the West Financial institution, or to revive the supply of Qatari monetary help to Gaza, a course of suspended in the course of the latest battle.

Publicly, the brand new authorities projected a picture of unity Monday morning, as its ministers gathered on the residence of the largely ceremonial president, Reuven Rivlin, for a proper {photograph} with the pinnacle of state. Mr. Bennett additionally met briefly later within the day with Mr. Netanyahu for a proper handover in non-public, based on an individual briefed on the assembly.

Later, Mr. Netanyahu pledged to return to workplace as quickly as doable. “We are going to stand towards them within the opposition — a robust and united opposition — and we are going to take down this authorities upon the primary alternative,” he stated in a speech to members of the brand new opposition. “It is going to be sooner that what you all assume.”

The brand new administration continued to obtain congratulatory messages from international governments, together with Russia, India and the United Arab Emirates. The messages adopted related expressions of help on Sunday from Germany, Canada, Austria and the European Union, in addition to cellphone calls from President Biden to Mr. Bennett and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to Mr. Lapid.

However the Palestinian Authority reacted with a shrug to information of Mr. Bennett’s authorities, saying that the Israeli strategy to Palestinians remained the identical from authorities to authorities.

“A authorities was shaped in Israel with out Netanyahu, but it’s inaccurate to name it a ‘authorities of change,’” the international ministry of the Palestinian Authority, which exerts restricted autonomy in components of the West Financial institution, stated in an announcement.

“We don’t contemplate the brand new authorities much less dangerous than its predecessors,” Mohammad Shtayyeh, the authority’s prime minister, stated individually.

Irit Pazner Garshowitz contributed reporting.

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