In Brief: Coalition talks imperilled as Islamists withdraw amid violence

The Islamist Ra’am party announced on Monday that it was suspending coalition talks with the anti-Netanyahu “change bloc” in the wake of Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. The move represents a potentially major blow to the hopes for an anti-Netanyahu government, which began last week when the prime minister’s mandate expired after he failed to[…]

In Brief: Netanyahu’s government formation mandate expires

Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a coalition government following Israel’s March general election expired on Tuesday night. After 28 days of negotiations, Netanyahu announced that he had failed to persuade enough other parties to join a government led by his Likud party. Netanyahu’s efforts ultimately failed when Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the far-right Religious Zionism[…]

In Brief: Israel mourns its worst ever civilian disaster with 45 dead

Israel experienced its worst ever civilian disaster last week, when a stampede at Mount Meron in the northern Galilee led to the deaths of at least 45 people. More than 100,000 people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gathered at the annual Lag B’Omer celebrations, which include visits to the gravesite of the second century rabbi Shimon Bar[…]

Analysis: Weekend of violence and rockets amid election uncertainty

Following several nights of rocket fire from Gaza, Israel has warned Hamas that it will face major retaliation should the attacks continue. Gaza-based armed factions launched more than 40 rockets into Israel over the weekend, against a background of continued unrest in Jerusalem and electoral uncertainty in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories. What happened Israel’s[…]

LFI Focus: Fourth time lucky? Israel’s March election

Introduction In May 2019, the Israeli Knesset dissolved itself barely one month after voters had been to the polls. That political stalemate marked the first time in the state’s seven-decade history that an election has not resulted in the formation of a government. Few then, however, could have predicted that, after another three elections, Israel would still be mired in[…]

Analysis: Is time running out for Netanyahu?

With two weeks left to form a government, Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a major blow on Monday when his supporters lost a key vote which effectively cost them control of the Knesset. The loss increased speculation that the long-serving prime minister’s days in office are numbered. What happened The anti-Netanyahu bloc secured an important victory in a[…]

In Brief: US defence secretary visits Israel

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, forming part of a two-day visit to Israel. Austin tweeted that the US is committed to working closely with Israel, particularly on security and “threats posed by Iran”. He did not mention Iran or its nuclear programme on the visit, however. The[…]

In Brief: Bibi-Bennett coalition talks continue

Benjamin Netanyahu met with Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party, for the fourth time on Wednesday after being asked to form a government by President Reuven Rivlin last week. The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem hosted coalition negotiations between Likud and Yamina, who have also been meeting separately. Talks between Netanyahu and Bennett were described as[…]

In Brief: Coalition-building begins after election

Almost two weeks after Israel’s fourth general election in two years, President Reuven Rivlin gave Benjamin Netanyahu the first opportunity to form a government on Monday. He said he did so reluctantly, with “moral and ethical” reservations over the fact that Netanyahu is on trial for corruption. Rivlin’s announcement came after consultations with party leaders[…]