Israel swears in most right-wing parliament in its history

Jerusalem, Nov 15 (EFE).- Israel inaugurated its 25th parliament on Tuesday, the most right-wing in the country’s history, after elections earlier this month handed a strong majority to an alliance featuring far-right and ultra-orthodox parties which will be headed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prime minister-designate Netanyahu is still working to form a government with his right-wing partners, after he was nominated on Sunday by Israeli president Isaac Herzog.

The Knesset’s swearing-in ceremony was led by Herzog, and the Speaker of Parliament, Micky Levy, who swore in the 120 members of the new House.

The new Knesset will initially consist of 91 men and 29 women, with 23 of its members serving for the first time as MPs.

The majority of the House belongs to right-wing or religious parties, leaving the Labor Party as the only left-wing faction, with an all-time low of four deputies.

The low representation of Israel’s Arab minority, which will have only 10 representatives – the lowest figure in the last 20 years – despite accounting for around 20% of the population, is also noteworthy.

“I wish to bless the 25th Knesset and especially the new members, the leader of the opposition and the candidate who was assigned the task of forming the government, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the members of the 37th government, which will be formed in due course,” Herzog said during the ceremony.

He also called for an end to the deep divisions that have defined Israeli politics during the past four years of political deadlock and called for an end to “destructive disagreements” and a prioritization of “listening, respect and openness.”

Herzog also referred to Tuesday morning’s attack in the occupied West Bank in which three Israelis and their Palestinian assailant were killed and warned that Israel would respond with “firmness and determination against acts of terror and hatred.”

The event in Parliament took place amid ongoing negotiations to form a government.

Since he was nominated on Sunday, Netanyahu has stepped up talks with the leaders of the far-right Religious Zionism as well as the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, with which he is trying to form a coalition of 64 deputies, three more than the absolute majority in the Knesset.

The former prime minister has four weeks to form an executive, and could request a two-week extension if needed. EFE


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