Iran and economy: Challenges Netanyahu's new government likely to face

In-depth: All eyes are on the oppositions leader, poised to return to premiership, whose expected new coalition set to face many immediate tests, such as tense U.S. relations and Palestinian terror, among many others

Ynet|
Now that the election results are official and Benjamin Netanyahu is starting to prepare to make a return to the premiership, it is time to take a look at the challenges that lie ahead of him - of which there are quite a few.
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  • Among the main challenges is the emerging animosity between the global community, and especially the United States, toward the far-right members of the upcoming coalition.
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    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: AFP)
    U.S. President Joe Biden reached out to Netanyahu on Monday, waiting several days to make the move following the publication of the official election results on Thursday. While this may be president being tied up with the concurring U.S. midterm elections, another explanation suggests that it expresses his discontent with Israel's new government.
    In a conversation that lasted eight minutes, Biden apparently told Netanyahu that "we are brothers, we will make history together … My commitment to Israel is unquestionable."
    Netanyahu told the American president: "We will bring more historic peace agreements, it is within reach. My commitment to our alliance and our relationship is stronger than ever."
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    Joe Biden, Itamar Ben-Gvir
    Joe Biden, Itamar Ben-Gvir
    Joe Biden, Itamar Ben-Gvir
    (Photo: Reuters, EPA)
    Over the past week, many world leaders congratulated Netanyahu for his win, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Indian leader Narendra Modi, and Italy's recently elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
    Netanyahu will have to decide which diplomatic ties he will pursue during his term. Given the reputation of his far-right coalition members, he will have to convince the international community that his government still falls under the definition of a fair democracy.
    One of his first challenges is the maritime deal with Lebanon, which Israel recently approved and which Netanyahu vehemently opposed. He initially called the deal an act of surrender, but later softened his stance and said he will honor it.
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    Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati, right, receives the final draft of the maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel from his deputy Elias Bou Saab who leads the Lebanese negotiating team, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022
    Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati, right, receives the final draft of the maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel from his deputy Elias Bou Saab who leads the Lebanese negotiating team, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022
    Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati, right, receives the final draft of the maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel from his deputy Elias Bou Saab
    (Photo: Dalati Nohra via AP)
    Additionally, Netanyahu is expected to act upon his spoken intentions to build on the Abraham Accords - with Saudi Arabia being his first goal. However, his efforts won't necessarily be welcomed with open arms, especially given the current status quo at the Temple Mount.
    In the meantime, no drastic changes are expected in Israel's policy of rejecting the Iranian nuclear deal. Although Netanyahu may have to deal with the situation in which Iran decides to become a nuclear power nonetheless.
    Regarding West Bank settlements, Netanyahu will be under a lot of pressure from his far-right and religious allies to finally resume construction projects. The Americans are expected to have little patience for what they see as injustice done to the Palestinian minority.
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    Israeli construction in the West Bank
    Israeli construction in the West Bank
    Israeli construction in the West Bank
    (Photo: Reuters)
    This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the topic of the Palestinians. Netanyahu will have to reevaluate the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with a constant terror threat looming over the heads of Israeli civilians.
    Additionally, most of the state-security directorate will undergo a transition in representatives within the next month and half - Israel will welcome a new IDF chief of staff and defense minister.
    They will have to assess how to continue acting against the some 240 shooting attacks that have taken place in the West Bank since August, most of them targeting IDF forces. Palestinian militants are gaining influence and power at a fast pace, and the price the IDF is paying is certainly growing.
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    הבערת צמיגים בחברון
    הבערת צמיגים בחברון
    Violence in Hebron
    (Photo: AFP)
    Beyond the Homefront, Netanyahu will need to clarify the Israeli stance on the war in Ukraine. In his election campaign, he once said that he would consider the option of providing Ukraine with weapons, though this may have been a strategic move to pile up votes. Given he does decide to go this route, future ties with Russia will become challenging.
    Another global challenge that has affected Israel is the inflation. The economic hot topic in Israel is the cost of living, which will have to be one of the first things the new government addresses. Prices have surged some 19% in the past year, bringing on some of the most substantial economic crisis Israel has seen in years.
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