Biden win 'will hasten new Israeli elections': coalition member

Biden presidential win 'will hasten new elections in Israel': senior Netanyahu coalition member
3 min read
06 November, 2020
A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s parliamentary coalition has said that a win for Joe Biden will hasten new Israeli elections.
Former vice-president Joe Biden has a record of supporting Israel [Getty]
A win for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the knife-edge US presidential race could trigger new elections in Israel, a senior member of the Israeli parliament from Prime Minister Netanyahu's governing coalition has said.

If Joe Biden is declared the victor, "it will hasten new elections in Israel", the parliamentarian, who requested anonymity, told The Media Line.

"Netanyahu has an open door to the [Donald Trump] White House. He may no longer have such strong ties with a Biden White House," he added.

"It would be easier for Netanyahu to [hold an election and then] deal with a Biden White House while leading an ultra-right-wing coalition rather than today's centrist coalition," the senior parliamentarian said.

"With a Democratic presidency, things will be different regarding the Palestinians in the West Bank. With an ultra-right-wing government, it will be easier for Netanyahu to deal with a Democratic president by protesting to the Americans: 'I am the most moderate person in my coalition. I can't do what you ask,'" the coalition member explained.

However, by contrast, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin told The Jerusalem Post that the outcome of the presidential race, whether for Trump or Biden, would not be a deciding factor in Israel having a new election. 

"I don't think that would be the relevant consideration," Levin said. 

Under the Trump administration, Washington has extended significant support for the right-right wing governments of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The premier has hailed Trump as Israel's strongest ever ally in the White House.

But former vice president Joe Biden is also considered pro-Israel. Professor Jonathan Rynhold from Israel's Bar-Ilan University told The Media Line that Biden "has the longest pro-Israel record of any US politician".

Despite this, Biden's stated stance on Iran could pose problems for the Israeli leadership

Biden, has said he wants to use the 2015 nuclear accord - a pact hammered out when he was vice-president under Barack Obama - as a "starting-point for follow-on negotiations" with Tehran.

After taking office, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, winning praise from Netanyahu.

Israel's settlements minister said on Wednesday night that an election win for Democratic contender Joe Biden could lead to war between Israel and Iran.

Minister Tzachi Hanegbi warned that Biden's stance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly called the Iranian nuclear deal, could reignite tensions between the two rivals.

"Biden has said openly for a long time that he will go back to the nuclear agreement," Hanegbi said in comments shared by The Jerusalem Post.

"I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran."

Read more: What will happen to US 'maximum pressure' on Iran after the election?

Despite his stated commitment to bipartisan ties with the US, Israel's closest and most important ally, Netanyahu has frequently been seen as siding with the Republicans.

Netanyahu had a cool relationship with President Barack Obama, appeared to favour Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012 and then delivered a major speech to Congress in 2015 to argue against Obama's emerging nuclear deal with Iran.

While Trump is popular with the Israeli public, Netanyahu’s close relationship with the president appears to be deepening a divide with American Jews. Opinion polls during the election campaign indicated that American Jews overwhelmingly favoured Joe Biden over Trump.

Agencies contributed to this report

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