The next elections in Israel

Fredi Winkler

That which didn’t seem possible is now happening: new elections will be held in Israel in March. Why did it come to this? The alleged reason is that the Netanyahu government had not yet set a budget by December 23, required by law as the last possible date. As to be expected, Netanyahu blamed the coalition partner Benny Gantz of the Blue-and-White party, for not agreeing to once again postpone the deadline for establishing a budget. Benny Gantz, on the other hand, refused to further tolerate Netanyahu’s systematic noncompliance with contractual points of the coalition agreement.

What will be the result of the next elections? Netanyahu once again hopes that he will emerge with a big victory. Undoubtedly, Netanyahu has achieved some successes, which have earned him points among the people and could give him an irresistible boost. For instance, at the political level, there is the establishment of relations with several Arab and Islamic countries that once viewed Israel with skepticism, if not hostility. And then there is the successful and rapid development of a vaccine against the coronavirus, in which Israel leads worldwide and serves as a role model.

Still, there are serious reasons for Netanyahu to be concerned. Even within his own party, dissatisfaction is growing and resistance to him has arisen. One of Netanyahu’s Likud members in Parliament has resigned to form an opposition party. Another has joined him, and there is a danger that more will follow. Other new parties have also been formed; all aim to remove Netanyahu from office through the elections. They want to bring the Netanyahu era to an end, despite all its merits. It is hard to predict whether this will succeed. But it is apparent that the people are tired of the present situation and want a change.

The establishment of normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates and other Islamic states is without a doubt to Netanyahu’s credit; though the good relationship with the United States and the Trump administration did, of course, play a significant role. Allegedly, more Islamic nations are to follow. In view of this almost unbelievable development, the question inevitably arises as to whether this may be the situation of which Paul writes: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess 5:3).

What is striking about these accords with the United Arab Emirates and other Islamic nations, is that there is always talk of “agreeing on peace,” even though Israel has not been at war with these countries. In Israel, there was real euphoria about the establishment of relations with the Emirates. About 70,000 Israelis visited this country within a short time…until the coronavirus put an end to travel.

Many of our questions remain unanswered. How will all this continue in our world plagued by the coronavirus? However, trust in our heavenly Lord gives us confidence in this situation.

News from Israel - 02/2021

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