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Jewish Power Party

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Benjamin Netanyahu has given the job of Transport Minister to Bezalel Smotrich, who says that he is working for God. Smotrich tried to become Justice Minister, and though his suggestion that Israel should follow biblical law ended that bid, there’s no reason his portfolio won’t grow in years to come.

Michael Ben-Ari and members of the Jewish Power Party

The Israeli High Court ruled yesterday that the leader of the Jewish Power Party, Michael Ben Ari, is barred from running in the upcoming Israeli elections due his racism. But Jonathan Ofir asks what about the racism of the whole party he is part of, that is still permitted to run? “One less racist potential lawmaker in the Israeli parliament, such as Ben Ari, is no doubt a welcome absence,” Ofir writes, “But this does not root out Israeli Zionist racism – that one is a completely mainstream and permanent feature.”

The shock of Netanyahu’s deal with the Kahanist Jewish Power party is that it shows there is growing establishment support in Israel for a final ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people: “The right-wing doesn’t speak about it openly, but the Kahanists do. Some 10% of the Jewish population of Israel have been speaking about “a second Nakba” even as they denied the first; now Likud joins them.”

Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi celebrate their Taal-Hadash list, splitting off from the Joint List

The unprecedented criticism of an Israeli prime minister by AIPAC and the splitting of the Palestinian parties into two lists may represent Israeli centrist Benny Gantz’s only road to knocking off Benjamin Netanyahu in April elections. Netanyahu is already calling Gantz an “Arab-lover” while Gantz has criticized Netanyahu for endangering Israel’s crown jewels, its ties to the U.S. government.