Whenever I get asked about Israeli politics on the radio, the first thing I do is point out that Israeli politics isn’t America, it’s European.
Israel was controlled by the British. More of its founders were European than American. That means the same messy coalition parliamentary politics without even the benefit of regional representation and direct elections.
It’s a terrible system that serves all the wrong people.
The last few years have been a grinding disaster of repeat elections because…
1. A huge chunk of Israel’s political spectrum wants to oust Netanyahu. Those on the Left, including pseudo-centrists like Lapid, are motivated by ideology. Others on the Right are scrambling for power.
2. No leader within Netanyahu’s Likud or outside has emerged as a viable alternative to him. Non-Likud parties have little credibility. Especially those on the Left. The fake centrist parties that act as leftist stalking horses have even less credibility.
What finally happened is that one of the alternative right-wing parties got together with the Left and Israel’s worst enemies to form a coalition. And the media is celebrating Netanyahu’s downfall while preparing to spin this as proof that Israel is terrible.
I’m not in the business of making political predictions, but I am skeptical that a coalition so ridiculously unwieldy can hold up. And Netanyahu is far from done. There are plenty of reasons for Israelis to be disappointed by Netanyahu, but this alternative coalition is the equivalent of Never Trumpers campaigning for Hillary. Except it’s even worse than by a factor of a few thousand.
The only thing uniting the Never Netanyahu coalition is hatred of the man himself and of religious Jews. That’s a weak bond and won’t make for a stable power-sharing arrangement even assuming it manages to get any further off the ground.
The only thing that the coalition proves is that the Never Netanyahus have yet to come up with an alternative to him.
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