Israel’s new government is facing a legitimacy crisis as the prime minister winning with only 6 percent of the vote will command the government; the party winning the most votes is being pushed out of office and into opposition.
The crisis is exacerbated by the fact that most of the promises to voters by incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of the Yamina party have been betrayed, including a pledge not to govern with Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party or with Arab parties.
The 2020 election in the U.S. is parallel, though few claim that the Israeli election was “stolen.” Instead, the is a sense on the Israeli political right that the election result was manipulated unfairly due to in-person and hand-counted voting.
Moreover, incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under investigation for years and faces trial on rather flimsy charges. Furthermore, Israelis are perplexed that Bennett, a politician with a small constituency, could have emerged as the winner.
On Sunday, Netanyahu condemned the incoming government. He called it “a scam against the public. The biggest election scam, maybe, in history,” noted the Times of Israel.
Netanyahu argued that the new government would not withstand pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden to accept the Iran nuclear deal and that it would be weak against Palestinian terror, given its reliance on an Islamist party.
Authorities are concerned that public outrage could turn violent. There have been demonstrations outside the homes of Yamina members of the Knesset, some of whom have suffered personal threats. Netanyahu has condemned incitement against his rivals but claimed that he and his Likud Party have suffered worse.
There is concern about the Jerusalem Day parade attracting far-right participants.
Polls suggest the Israeli public prefers the Bennet-Lapid government to the fifth round of elections this fall. However, Bennett has lost his voters’ support, and if it takes office, it would be unstable.