Jerusalem - Facing a number of serious charges involving fraud and breach of trust, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to win the forthcoming April 9 general elections by forming Israel’s most right-wing coalition in the country’s history is looking increasingly isolated as he himself grows increasingly isolated.
The decision by Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to indict Netanyahu has further weakened the Israeli premier’s standing, but his decision to form a political pact with several extreme right-wing parties, including a racist anti-Arab party whose ideology has been likened to Nazism by a leading Rabbi, has angered Jewish leaders in Israel and the United States alike, as well as many Israelis.
Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power, is led by politicians who support violence against Palestinians, their expulsion from Israel and the occupied territories and a ban on intermarriage or sex between Jews and Arabs.
The members of Otzma Yehudit follow the ideology of the late Meir Kakane who was the founder and leader of Israel’s openly racist Kach party in the 1970s and 80s, until it was banned in 1988. He was assassinated in the United States after delivering a lecture at a Manhattan hotel on November 5, 1990.
The party has also expressed support for Baruch Goldstein, a doctor who opened fire on Muslims as they prayed in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in the southern Israeli-occupied West Bank in 1994, killing 29 and injuring 150 other worshippers.
The chorus of criticism to Netanyahu’s political pact is growing louder. On Saturday, a group of approximately 300 religious Jewish Israelis took part in a protest outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence in protest of his electoral deal.
Former minister Rabbi Michael Melchior told protesters that Otzma Yehudit itself and Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, which joined forces under Netanyahu pressure to form the Union of Right-Wing Parties, "are adopting the most impure values from the nations of the world – fascism and racism – and want to stain Judaism”, Haaretz reported.
Criticism is also coming from abroad from some of Israel’s strongest supporters in the US, including two Democratic senators on Capitol Hill. New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Maryland Senator Ben Cardin called Netanyahu’s coalition and its political outlook the antithesis of American values.
Even the most powerful and influential pro-Israel lobby group in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has slammed the Israeli premier’s political pact.
African News Agency (ANA)