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Israeli Politics

Top 5 Israel Political Stories of 2021


Photos By : Haim Zach / GPO

Here is JBN’s list of the five biggest political stories that happened in Israel in 2021.

What’s that saying, “So much to do, such little time?” Well here we have so much to mention, but such little space for it. But we somehow found a way to find only 5 events that qualified for the top of 2021.

The first on the list is obviously the forming of a new government in Israel in June of 2021 which saw Benjamin Netanyahu forced out of office for the first time in more than 12 years.

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By a razor thin majority of just 60 votes in favor to 59 against, Naftali Bennett was elected the Prime Minister of Israel by the Knesset. The vote also formed the most bizarre government in Israel’s history.

Calling itself the government of change, the new coalition includes right-wing parties like Bennett’s own Yamina and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party. And it also includes left-wing parties like the Labor and Meretz parties. The new government is also led by someone whose party only holds 6 seats in the Knesset.

Just about the only thing the new government’s members all hold in common is that they really wanted Benjamin Netanyahu out of office.

Naftali Bennett

PM Bennett at Cabinet meeting July 2021 (GPO) 

The second biggest Israeli political story came 5 months later when the Knesset passed its first new budget in more than 3 years. The opposition tried desperately to block this as failure in passing a budget causes an immediate fall of a government and new elections must be held. This seemed to be the best option for Netanyahu to return to power.

But the budget was passed through 2022 and so now the coalition will likely last until at least the end of next year.

No new budget had been passed in all that time because of all the elections held where no new government was formed.

The new budget was passed at 5:30 in the morning after an all-night marathon session in the Knesset by a vote of 61 – 59.

In November, the Shin Bet security service arrested Omri Goren, 37, who worked as a house cleaner for Defense Minister Benny Gantz on charges of spying for Iran.

Goren allegedly contacted Iran-linked hackers Black Shadow over Telegram using a false name following Israeli media stories last month detailing the group’s hacking attempts against the Israeli government and private targets.

The Central District prosecutor filed an indictment charging Goren with espionage, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Benny Gantz

DM Gantz at Reichman University in Herzliya (GPO)

In October, the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved the new “’pharma reform” which is meant to lower prices across the board on all manner of medications, toiletries and even cosmetics.

The new policy will not only lower the import duties on such items, lift regulatory impediments to the import of cosmetics and the import licensing process will be simplified. The number of Israeli official and parallel importers will be expanded and the growth of small and medium-sized Israeli manufacturers will be enabled.

Israelis see reports on the news on a regular basis showing how simple over the counter medications like aspirin and acetaminophen cost much more in their country than in Europe. Imported soaps and cleaners also cost a lot more. Reasons given for this range from higher costs in the importation of such goods, local monopolistic practices and regulations that add to the costs of local production.

The reform, which will take effect next year, includes products for daily use including shampoo, conditioner, body soap, body cream, hand cream, hair cream, aftershave, aluminum-free deodorant, face powder, etc.

Believe it or not, Israel actually exports water to neighboring Jordan. And in 2021 a deal was reached to double the amount of water exported there.

The amount exported should reach 100 million cubic meters over the next year. Israel, however, is also raising its price per cubic meter from $0.04 to $0.65. This amounts to a more than 1,500% rise in price.

Yes, Israel does export water to Jordan. Fresh water supplies have been a major cause of friction between the two countries for decades. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994. But it has been more of a cold peace over the years.



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