On November 1, 2022, snap elections to the Knesset (national legislature) were held in Israel, which were won by the right-wing religious bloc led by the Likud party. For the past three years, a political crisis has continued in Israel: November’s elections were already the fifth round since April 2019. Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party, returned to his former position as prime minister after a break of a year and a half, largely with the support of ultra-religious parties and the right-wing nationalist Religious Zionism bloc.
Experts believe that in foreign policy, the new government will continue the course of the departed government and will focus on ensuring security and protection from external and internal threats. In early January, Netanyahu said that Israel “will not submit to the dictates of the international community,” but rather “defend its own interests” and pursue a “vigorous” foreign policy. As expected, Israel will continue the process of normalising relations with the Arab countries and will not give up the confrontation with Iran: Netanyahu has always opposed and continues to oppose the revival of the Iranian “nuclear deal.”
Since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, Russian-Israeli relations have remained difficult, despite the fact that under the previous government of Bennett-Lapid, Israel refused to supply arms to Ukraine, as well as to impose anti-Russian sanctions. After the approval of the new Israeli government, the representatives of Russia and Israel confirmed their intention to continue bilateral cooperation, despite the remaining differences. At the same time, several visits of US officials to Israel are planned in January, and Washington officials are going to visit Netanyahu in February. These meetings can influence both the position of the Jewish state on the Ukrainian issue and Russian-Israeli relations in general.
What will be the foreign policy of the new Israeli government? What questions will be the central ones? How will Russian-Israeli relations develop? What is the fate of the Middle East settlement? Participants of the discussion answered these and other questions.