Early elections

Fredy Winkler

Early elections are scheduled in Israel on April 9th, after the various coalition partners became increasingly at odds with one another. When Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his faction of six seats broke away from the government, only a slim majority of 61 seats remained. Since additional, irreconcilable differences seem to be growing among the remaining coalition partners, early elections appear to be the only solution, even though the division between left and right isn’t likely to change very much. The various coalition parties on the right actually know this already, but they still hope that the outcome will benefit them.

The decisive factor for the early elections could also be the impending charges of corruption against Prime Minister Netanyahu. Pending that outcome, he could be forced to resign. If that happens, there will of course be negative consequences for his right-leaning Likud party, and those shock waves will have a significant impact.

That possibility is probably why the education minister, Naftali Bennett, left his HaBayit HaYehudi party and founded a new party called “The New Right.” At the same time, the former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Benny Gantz, released the news that he was entering politics and planned to found a different new party.

In the past, Israel has been known to have newly-established parties with charismatic leaders like Ariel Sharon, that went straight to the top right off the bat and became the largest party, with the responsibility of forming the new government. This dream appears to be the motivation for some, but it remains to be seen whether it could realistically be repeated at the present time. There is a lack of internal unity and common ground, and that applies to the right as well as the left side. The steady spread of this me-first culture, that only seeks an advantage on a very narrow range of issues, is blossoming in Israeli politics.

For Israel, me-first, single issue politics could be disastrous, because foreign threats are still their greatest problem. Not long ago, various military experts rated Israel’s security situation as good or better than ever, because the Arab world, especially Syria, was busy with its own problems. That previously reassuring outlook for Israel has changed dramatically, now that Iran, Turkey and especially Russia have gotten more involved in the Middle-East conflict. The security requirements of the nation are bound to be an important factor in the coming elections. It’s questionable, however, whether the general population is prepared to continue valuing this argument ahead of all the other issues that affect their daily lives. A new party, with one or possibly even two former generals in the leadership, could create some surprises.

With all the worries over Israel’s future, one thing remains certain: He who has helped so wonderfully until now will continue to keep watch over His people, so that His will is done and His plan is accomplished.

News from Israel - 02/2019

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