Far-right party set to gain new influence after Israeli vote Israeli Judaism Middle East Yitzhak Rabin Noam


An alliance of far-right groups including openly racist and homophobic candidates appears poised to enter Israel’s parliament, possibly as an indispensable member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu s right-wing coalition, according to exit polls Tuesday.

The Religious Zionist Party includes a new incarnation of the Kahanist movement, a Jewish extremist group outlawed as terrorists by Israel, the United States and other Western countries decades ago over its incitement to violence against Arabs

Exit polls by Israel’s three main television channels projected the Religious Zionist Party will win six to seven seats, the best-ever showing by an extreme right-wing party. With Netanyahu and his opponents deadlocked after four elections in two years, he will likely need the group if he succeeds in assembling a narrow majority in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Its rise heralds a further shift to the right in Israel, where parties that support Jewish settlements and oppose the creation of a Palestinian state already dominate the political scene. A solidly right-wing government would likely find itself on a collision course with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which has pressed for the revival of peace efforts.

The Religious Zionist Party is led by Bezalel Smotrich, a longtime activist and former transport minister who has organized anti-gay protests and recently compared gay marriage to incest. In 2016, he tweeted in support of segregating Jewish and Arab women in maternity wards.



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