The former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had the support of a far-right ultranationalist party, beat the current prime minister in national elections, and the latter made a call for national unity on Sunday.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, leaving office after Israel’s fifth election since 2019, spoke of the country’s significant differences during a memorial service for the murdered Yitzhak Rabin.
He seemed to be targeting Religious Zionism, a radical group whose leaders have frequently made anti-Arab and anti-LGBTQ remarks.
The third-largest party in Parliament, religious Zionism is anticipated to be a significant player in Netanyahu’s cabinet.
In his first public remarks since the election last week, Lapid declared that there is no “them and we,” only us.
The vast majority of people here support the rule of law, democratic principles, and respect for one another.
The overwhelming majority of Israelis, he said, want a Judaism that brings them together, not one that serves as a political tool or, most definitely, one that condones murder.
In the 120-seat Parliament, Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Religious Zionism, and two ultra-Orthodox religious organizations won a 64-seat majority in last Tuesday’s election. In the upcoming weeks, they should put together a new ruling majority.
Only 51 seats were secured by Lapid’s departing coalition, a varied group of parties that included the first Arab party ever to serve in an Israeli government.
Like the prior four, the election centered on Netanyahu’s suitability to run while being investigated for corruption.
New reforms that might erode Israel’s legal system, give Netanyahu protection and potentially erase the criminal allegations against him have been promised to be pushed through by religious Zionism.
According to critics, this plan would severely damage Israel’s democratic institutions.
A strong approach against the Palestinians and Israel’s Palestinian minority is also promoted by religious Zionism.