TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new minister for science, technology and space has blasted US President Barack Obama as “a dictator” and insists his administration has not been a friend of Israel.
His education minister, leader of the third largest bloc in Netanyahu’s new government, refuses to acknowledge Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, insisting that the “God-given Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.”
The new deputy foreign minister — essentially Israel’s top diplomat given that Netanyahu has retained the Foreign Ministry portfolio for himself — is a hard-core annexationist who wants Jews to pray freely on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem’s potential tripwire to religious war.
And then there’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a relative moderate in the narrow right coalition government sworn in late last Thursday.
While he repeatedly — and sincerely — professes gratitude to Washington and the Obama administration for its “unprecedented” support, Ya’alon has criticized as “obsessive and messianic” Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed attempts to renew Israel-Palestinian negotiations toward a two-state peace deal.
Of the extended roster of ministers in Israel’s 34th government — Netanyahu’s fourth — more than half are declared or implicit opponents of the US and European Union vision of two-states for two peoples.
Netanyahu himself has not disavowed his 2009 nod to the notion of a Palestinian State living alongside a secure Israel. But neither has he endorsed it, as Obama has repeatedly requested.