What are the chances for Israel's new government?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on MPs on Twitter to oppose the new government coalition announced by opposition leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday. With 61 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the coalition has a razor thin majority. Europe's media doubt whether the new government can really bring about change - and whether Netanyahu will really have to step down after 12 years.

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Mediafax (RO) /

Fighting to the last second

Netanyahu will not leave his post voluntarily, Mediafax predicts :

“We cannot yet speak of the end of the Netanyahu era. The parliamentary vote is yet to come and King Bibi will fight until the last second. In the time until the vote, he will hunt down the 'traitors', man by man.”

Il Manifesto (IT) /

There can be no change with these politicians

All the talk of a coalition of change is just a joke, political scientist Zvi Schuldiner writes in Il Manifesto:

“Many key figures of the new coalition belong to the racist right. Some are no less nationalist and fundamentalist than the current prime minister. For example Bennett, the candidate for prime minister, led the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. The candidate for justice minister will be Gideon Saar: he comes from the ranks of Likud, where he was defeated by Netanyahu, who saw him as a threatening internal rival. Liberman, the former defence minister facing several corruption charges, will take over the finance ministry.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Focus on practical issues

The new government will have to concentrate on just a few key tasks, predicts Helsingin Sanomat:

“With this composition, one can expect the government to focus on practical issues such as developing the economy, housing and internal security. It is likely that the larger contentious issues will be set aside. And this government is so fragile that no one would be surprised if it were to swiftly collapse.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Creating coexistence would be miraculous

The unity government must not waste its time with ideological battles, the Frankfurter Rundschau warns:

“There is plenty to tackle after four rounds of elections in two years, during which not even a proper budget could be passed. Covid has ruined countless businesses and the cities with Jewish and Arab populations are still far from having recovered from the most recent turmoil. In view of the lack of cohesion, it would be, well, practically revolutionary if they managed to re-establish stable coexistence once more.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Chance for a new beginning

Dagens Nyheter hopes Netanyahu will finally disappear from the political stage:

“When it comes to cynically ignoring principles, Netanyahu is the undisputed master. He'll strike a deal with anyone, from Islamists to Jewish extremists, only to turn on his allies without scruples when it suits him. ... Everything is subordinate to Netanyahu's sole remaining goal - to get the Knesset to give him immunity so that he can wriggle out of his corruption trial. The coalition of his opponents may look like a sinking ship, but Netanyahu is blocking all conceivable new initiatives. Israel must take a new path to secure peace and democracy. Perhaps an unprincipled compromise is just the opportunity it needs.”

Polityka (PL) /

Coalitions of change are the order of the day

Polityka draws parallels between what is happening in Israel and developments in other countries:

“Whatever is being sought in Israel is not only an Israeli thing. It is also Hungarian, American, Russian, international in a word, because behind this attempt to replace the irremovable Benjamin Netanyahu with a 'coalition of change' bringing together all the parties except his own, there is the indispensable quest for renewal demanded by the general disruption of political boundaries. ... This same idea of seeking a national consensus can be found among Joe Biden, Alexei Navalny and the Hungarian opponents. There is an ambition in this zeitgeist to rebuild the foundations of a national unity and a free political debate between parties that all contribute to democracy.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

A common enemy is not enough

There are many examples of how forming a broad coalition against a common opponent doesn't work out in practice, Hospodářské noviny reminds readers:

“In Slovakia, for example, the coalition project to oust Prime Minister Robert Fico triggered a permanent crisis. ... The illusion of cooperation lasted less than a year before it collapsed, mainly due to the unbridled ego of Prime Minister Igor Matovič. ... It turned out that the common enemy as the lowest common denominator simply wasn't enough for completely disparate political forces to formulate and implement a common agenda.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Arabs finally getting a say

Journalist Iulian Chifu is optimistic in Adevărul:

“The participation of Arab parties in Israel's domestic politics will be obligatory as long as they represent 20 percent of the population. This could build more solid bridges of communication with the Palestinians and even make it possible to approach the peace process constructively on a new basis of understanding. It won't be easy, there are multiple blockades and the actors here may not be inclined to put effort into resolving a long and complex conflict. But it this an unprecedented opening that highlights a trend in Israel and in the region: in future, the Arab minority and its relations in the territories will also be significant, especially in the West Bank.”