Israel’s coalition government under Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu is taking what some consider to be a hard-right stance by agreeing to promote Jewish homes in the West Bank, supporting the death penalty for terrorists and tightening the nation’s immigration rules.
Netanyahu’s Likud coalition agreements with the Religious Zionist Party and Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) both focus on promoting Israel’s sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, as well as the Galilee, the Negev and the Golan Heights, the latter three of which are considered legally part of Israel.
Roughly 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank alongside about 2.5 million Palestinians, but the international community has largely condemned the Israelis for doing so.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ office condemned the new government’s coalition statement. The president’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh said it was a “dangerous escalation and will have repercussions for the region,” Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. He called for the Biden administration to “to turn its words into deeds since it is committed to the two-state solution, without which there will be no stability in the region.”
Other more conservative measures are included in the coalition agreements.
Citing “the intensification of terror attacks aimed at harming Israel as a Jewish state, and the need to notch a decisive victory against the attackers,” the agreement with Otzma Yehudit, as translated, calls to impose the death penalty before Israel passes a 2023 budget.
The death penalty has only been carried out twice in Israel’s history including the execution of “Final Solution” architect Adolf Eichmann in 1962.
The right has long called for the death penalty for terrorists but has been unable to pass a law for it.
The number of people eligible to immigrate will also be restricted with a revision of the state’s “law of return” under the new agreement.
Currently, anyone with a Jewish grandparent is eligible for Israeli citizenship with their spouse.
Under Orthodox Judaism, a person is considered Jewish if their mother is or if they have undergone a recognized conversion. The new law would only allow people who are Jewish or have a Jewish parent to immigrate to Israel.