Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that his country will not be governed by “Talmud laws”, in light of fears that his government will include far-right politicians.
This came in an interview, which is Netanyahu’s first since his assignment to form the government, with the American website “Common Sense”, which was reported by the Israeli newspaper “Yediot Ahronot”, on Wednesday.
Netanyahu said, “The main policy or the dominant policy of the government is determined by the Likud, and frankly I (…) have often heard these dire predictions (about dangers to democracy and liberalism), but none of them have been fulfilled.”
He added that during his previous terms in office (1999-2021), he “preserved the democratic nature” of Israel.
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And he added, “Israel will not be governed by the laws of the Talmud (Jewish religious teachings). My view on this matter is completely different, to say the least. I can say that we will remain a state of law.”
“We will not ban the existence of LGBT organizations,” Netanyahu added.
He continued, in an attempt to reassure the international community, which has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the formation of the government: “I will govern according to the principles that I believe in.”
Regarding the “disturbing” appointment of the head of the “Otzma Yehudit” (Jewish Power) party, Itamar Ben Gvir, as Minister of National Security in his government, Netanyahu said: “His membership in the government coalition was approved by the Supreme Court (the highest judicial authority in Israel), that should be clear.”
Netanyahu denied whether his “Likud” party intends to give up the defense portfolio in favor of smaller parties, and acknowledged that he had heard about the West’s concerns in this regard.
He continued, “They told me (he did not specify who) that they were afraid that I would give up the Ministry of Defense in favor of one of the small parties. They were very concerned about that, and I confirmed that this would not happen.”
On Friday, the “Likud” party reached an agreement to distribute ministerial portfolios with the far-right “Jewish Power” party headed by Ben Gvir.
Under the agreement, Ben Gvir will receive the national security portfolio, with broader powers than it has had for years.
On November 13, Israeli President Isaac Herzog assigned Netanyahu to form a government.