On March 18 a new Israeli government was established, headed by the outgoing Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. It is politically a right-wing, hawkish government, and economically it can be described as an anti-social government. The composition of the new government coalition is different from that in the outgoing government – which does not mean that the new government has anything new or positive to offer.
This government is evidently incapable of promoting any peace process, and it might indeed be heading towards new military ventures. Extreme right-wing elements gained control of key political and economic positions in this new government. In the Socio-economic sphere, it is well known that in the coming months harsh economic measures, unprecedented in scope, are about to be imposed on the citizens of Israel. The burden of the economic crisis and the budget deficit is to fall primarily on the low-income strata in society, through substantial cuts in social allocations and welfare budgets. Also most those who are part of what is defined as "The Middle Class" will suffer greatly from these severe cuts – even though one of the new parties in the government coalition, led by the new Finance Minister Yair Lapid, had made elections pledges to care primarily for the interests of this class. At the same time, the government will continue spending more and more billions of dollars on military budgets and on settlements in the Occupied Territories. The large corporations and tycoons will continue to enjoy a variety of benefits. As was recently disclosed, some giant business conglomerates pay only single-digit percentages in tax over the huge profits they accumulated in recent years.
The new government also poses a severe new threat to democratic freedoms, with a whole set of racist and anti-democratic pieces of legislation due to be tabled soon. Prominent among these is the so-called "Nationality Law" (Dichter Act), aimed at blatantly discriminating against the Arab population in Israel and undermining its civic status. Also a real cause for alarm is the proposal to raise the elections threshold, needed for gaining representation in the Knesset, to no less than 4% – a step designed specifically to harm the Jewish- Arab Hadash Front as well as other parties deriving their electoral support mainly from the Arab population in Israel. In addition there is the proposal to limit the Knesset’s ability to vote no confidence in the government and make it dependant on obtaining a special majority of 65 out of the 120 Members of Knesset, as well as upon presenting an immediate alternative government. The net effect would be to ensure the tyranny of the current government coalition majority and to perpetuate its control even in a situation when it would be left with only a minority support among Knesset Members.
In the January 22 Knesset elections the Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu’s ruling party, suffered a significant electoral setback. Together with its partner, the extreme right "Israel Our Home” party, Likud garnered only 31 seats, as compared to 42 for these two parties together in the previous elections. In this sense, the large-scale social protest demonstrations which swept across the country in the summer of 2011 were shown to have had some impact, and the main ruling party had to pay a certain price for its policies. But unfortunately, most of the protest vote was not channeled towards parties which represent a real alternative to government policies. Therefore, Netanyahu ultimately succeeded – though with greater effort then on earlier occasions – in forming a cabinet. His main partners are in fact those who during the elections campaign presented themselves "An Alternative to Netanyhau” and as proponents of "The New Politics". So far, "The New Politics" have not yielded anything new other than the bare fact that Yair Lapid’s newly founded “There is a Future” party had an electoral success. This party, as well as the “National Religious” party led by Naftali Bennett, spoke a great deal about an “Equal Sharing of the Burden". For them, however, equality is restricted to one single issue – forcing military conscription upon population groups to which it hitherto did not apply, especially among the Haredi (Ultra-Orthdox) public. No kind of other equality – social, economic, civic or other – is among these parties’ priorities.
In these latest elections Hadash managed to maintain its electoral strength nearly to the full, and retained its contingent of four Members in the Knesset. There are difference in Hadash’s results in different regions and communities, difference which should be reviewed in detail at post-elections analysis. Particularly regrettable is the decline in votes among the Jewish public, where a certain increase was recorded in the previous elections.
Hadash has once again proven itself to be the leading party among the Arab population. This is quite is in line with Hadash successes in municipal and Histadrut trade union elections. We congratulate all Hadash activists for their intensive involvement in the elections campaign. We particularly congratulate the activists of the Israeli Communist Forum whose work, especially in some areas, made an important contribution to the campaign.
We welcome the initiative of Hadash and other opposition parties to coordinate and organize a joint struggle against the new ruling coalition in every possible sphere. For example, the important gathering at the Knesset focusing on opposition to raising the elections threshold.
We call for increasing the joint Jewish – Arab struggle against the political and socio-economic policies of the current government, against the continued policies of war and occupation, against the continuing discrimination of the Arab population in Israel and for the defense of basic democratic freedom.
Following are some significant Hadash results in the past elections:
Nazareth – 13,517 votes (11,406 in the previous elections)
Umm al-Fahm – 7,872 (8,031)
Haifa – 6,644 (5,533)
Sakhnin – 4,154 (3,671)
Shefa-'Amr – 4,110 (3,885)
Taybeh – 3,071 (3,715)
Tel Aviv-Jaffa – 4,069 (5,203)
Tel Aviv – 2,826 (3941)
Jaffa – 1,243 (1262)
Total of cast Hadash votes – 113,439 (112 ,136) which are 3% (3.3%)