Bennett, Sa'ar, Lapid, and other coalition members
Bennett, Sa'ar, Lapid, and other coalition membersOlivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

Even the new Israeli government’s most fervent critics and opponents would never have anticipated that in such a short time, Naftali Bennett and his coalition would be so detrimental for Israel on the international stage.

On July 1st Barak Ravid wrote in Walla News that Israel had formerly requested from the United States to postpone the reopening of its consulate for Palestinian Arab affairs in East Jerusalem, which former U.S. President Donald Trump had shut down upon the opening the United States’ embassy in Jerusalem. Ravid wrote how Netanyahu had pressured the Biden administration not to reopen its Palestinian consulate which would essentially reverse the United States’ recognition of a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Bennett’s government, on the other hand, only wishes to postpone the division of Jerusalem to a more opportune time after his overly complicated coalition has more stability, Ravid wrote.

The fact that the US gave its opinion on Israel’s decades old policies with how to combat terrorism is inappropriate and misguided.
On July 8th Israel demolished the home of Palestinian Arab terrorist, Muntasir Shalabi, who shot three Israelis at a bus stop, killing one person. The destruction of terrorist’s homes has been an act of deterrence performed on a consistent basis since Israel’s founding and following similar concerns of the British who carried out demolitions in Israel beginning in 1945. Hours after the July 8th demolition, the US Embassy of Jerusalem released a critical statement calling on Israel to refrain from unilateral steps “that exacerbate tensions,”. The fact that the US gave its opinion on Israel’s decades old policies with how to combat terrorism is inappropriate and misguided.

The new coalition government had stated that they plan to continue Netanyahu’s policy against the Iran deal, but have been abundantly clear in their opposition to Netanyahu’s approach of public disapproval, preferring private negotiations with the Biden administration behind closed doors. Bibi Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that PM Bennett is too weak to promote Israel’s security concerns on the world stage regarding Iran. All the pleasantries aside of the two new governments, it seems as though the Biden administration seems determined to pick up where former President Obama left off concerning Iran.

On June 10th the US Treasury and State Departments lifted sanctions "on three former government of Iran officials, and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products, as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. This step by the State Department occurred amid the first talks to reinstate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, and the lowering of all sanctions and reinstatement of the nuclear deal seem forthcoming.

The apparent disregard and lack of respect by the Biden administration of Israel’s new government could have been foreshadowed. Soon after Bennett was sworn in as Prime Minister, Natan Sachs, the director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy said that Biden administration officials “don’t like Bibi, and they do see the possibility for a fresh start with Bennett,”. Ori Nir, spokesman for the progressive pro-Israel group Americans for Peace Now, said on Twitter “You don’t have to sit in Washington to hear the sigh of relief in the White House as Netanyahu gives his farewell speech”.

In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Biden Administration Sees a Fresh Face and a New Start in Israel’s Naftali Bennett,” Felicia Schwartz and Vivian Salama wrote that “The Biden administration recognizes that there is potential for Mr. Bennett to moderate politically, and some of those close to Mr. Bennett believe such a shift is inevitable, since his job as prime minister could be at risk if he alienates his more centrist coalition partners. A U.S. official said that Israel’s new government could expect U.S. engagement “immediately,” in part, to help defuse tension in the relationship, in particular over the Biden administration’s renewed nuclear talks with Iran.”

Unfortunately, this new “engagement” apparently brings with it changes in prior policies, a more hardline approach to Israeli priorities and conciliatory actions to many of Israel’s adversaries. When the United States, and especially the radical left wing of the Democratic party is trying to impose its will on Israel, it is imperative for Israel to have a leader who is steadfast, experienced, and has a unified right-wing government behind them which will not compromise on Israel’s basic security needs.

Benjamin Sipzner managed the Anglo division for the Religious Zionist Party in the last election, is an Oleh from New York, formerly a student at Yeshivat Bet El and is serving in the IDF as a lone soldier. He can be reached at [email protected].