As in the past, these parties may well have the opportunity to change the character of the country, especially in a coalition with Netanyahu and the more extreme religious-nationalist right. Thus, it is not only the ultra-Orthodox parties that could change the character of Israel if Netanyahu once again struggles to form a coalition after 17 September.
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The law has also received strong criticism internationally – from the EU to representatives of Reform Judaism in the US and internationally renowned Israeli lobbyists. In contrast, its supporters argue that the law only articulates what is already a reality: Israel is a Jewish state. In their view, former legislation adopted by a liberal Israeli elite has created an imbalance in which the Jewish element of the state is no longer sufficiently asserted. They claim the nation-state law has redressed this imbalance.
So far, this speculation is undermining discussion about the real issues facing Israelis today: the occupation, emerging apartheid, the anti-democratic nature of recent legislation, government incitement and racism. Only anti-corruption is accorded a central place and only because there are four cases pending against Netanyahu. A decision on whether he will be indicted will be announced before the elections.
Israel’s Arab neighbours universally condemned the law, calling it discriminatory and racist as well as being an obstacle to peace. The new law also elicited mixed reactions from the Jewish diaspora. Although it appeased some ultra-Orthodox leaders, the pro-Zionist leadership claimed that even the revised version of the law makes the country less democratic
Netanyahu popularity remains unchanged in 2018 even after he has been questioned in some four cases, mainly of corruption but possibly also bribery. Thus, the future of Netanyahu and his coalition remain a major question, although it appears unlikely that any of the four cases will end in indictment.
According to human rights organizations, including the African Refugee Development Center, deportation to a third country is not a tenable solution. In some cases, they say, the returnees have their travel documents stolen, experience arbitrary arrest, demands for bribes and even torture. However, the policy is aligned with the current trends in the Trump administration against immigrants and Islamophobia in Europe.