NEW YORK, OCTOBER 07 (IPS) – Israel is considered a democratic country by all accounts, but when one looks closely at its domestic political burnout, Israel’s democracy is sadly is being torn and is being torn apart. This is because political leaders have failed miserably to summon their resourcefulness and collective energy to respond to the call of the hour.
Israel is currently in the midst of its fifth election in four years. No coalition government was formed during this period that lasted more than a year. Why so? The answer is quite simple but extremely troublesome.
Although the political parties are divided into left and right factions, almost fifteen political parties are contesting 120 seats in the Knesset (Parliament). Most, but not all, will pass the 3.25 percent threshold to qualify for the four-seat minimum.
The country’s political controversies are centered around character, not policy: who gets what position in government, how to attract or bribe the leader of this party or the leader of the party. government, which ministries many running politicians want to hold (regardless of qualifications), the promised grants for pet projects, and the list goes on.
And to sum it all up, just about every head of each party feels they are most qualified to be prime minister, but no one has been able to articulate a national agenda to bring the country in. a stable route to protect its democracy and political stability.
The greatest threat to Israel’s democracy, however, is the sheer failure of all party leaders to understand that the country is polarized and divided almost equally among anti-government blocs. Netanyahu and pro-Netanyahu (mostly but not only on the left and right), and both political blocs have been unable to form a working coalition government that holds a stable majority in the Knesset.
Currently, many polls conducted almost daily suggest that the outcome of the upcoming election will not be much different. The two competing blocs are hovering between 57 and 59 seats, and the country is likely to endure another grueling election cycle that still ends up with almost the same configuration.
One might think that under such circumstances – when the country is threatened by Iran, which is racing towards the purchase of nuclear weapons, when the West Bank is seething with violence and human casualties. Palestine is on the rise, as the prospect of an unprecedented Palestinian uprising becomes increasingly plausible, as extremist groups such as jihadists and Hezbollah pose dangers everywhere , when social cohesion is not serious, when poverty is rampant and weakens social fabric — leaders on all sides will understand and put the interests of the nation above their own and those of others. their.
Together, people will expect that they will find common ground and reach consensus to address pressing issues facing the nation. But that’s not the case.
The extent of Israel’s political instability and the erosion of its democracy could not be better demonstrated than by anyone other than the despicable former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. No prime minister in Israel’s history has been as corrupt or stooped to get his way as Netanyahu.
His lust for power knows no bounds. He faces three criminal charges and is willing to destroy the judiciary to make these charges go away. He is willing to sell the soul of his country to the likes of Itamar Ben-Gvir, the fascist leader, the Kahanist leader of Otzma Yehudit, who is known to seek to expel all Palestinians from Israel, as long as he We can help Netanyahu form the next. government.
So when you have a country that has been ruled consecutively for more than 12 years by a bigot like Netanyahu who can potentially still form a new government, you know that Israel’s democracy is in trouble. endemic unrest and the need for major political measures.
Just like in America here, if Republicans try to cheat to get through the Electoral College and Trump, the most morally bankrupt ex-president, win the next presidential election in 2024, our democracy will crumble and the American dream will perish. died. Israel may face a similar fate under Netanyahu.
So if Netanyahu has no dignity and no concern for the future of the country, he should step aside, face the court with poise, and beg forgiveness and President Herzog. maybe pardon him because he served the country. This will pave the way for the formation of a broad-based coalition government that is stable, tolerant, and engaged in the country’s urgent business.
More than at any time in history, Israel today urgently needs a dignified, honest, courageous, visionary and decisive leader to respond to the call of the times. Yair Lapid fulfills some of the above attributes. He demonstrated an exemplary ability to make the compromises necessary to reach consensus in the interests of the country.
He is politically savvy and has demonstrated it in his meetings and dealings with global leaders. He showed courage when he declared at the United Nations General Assembly that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained the only viable option.
He bravely spoke out again and again against the occupation and its demoralizing impact on the entire country. He fervently advocated equality between Israeli Jews and Arabs, and called for the removal of the poor from their miserable lives. And ultimately, he worked to foster a healthy and cohesive society, the beating heart that sustains democracy.
This round of elections could be one of the most consequential since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank. Every political leader, regardless of his or her political leanings, should wonder what Israel will do. what a country will be like in 10 to 15 years. Israelis want unity of purpose, they want to preserve democracy, prosperity, security and peace.
Normalizing relations with more Arab states is paramount and should be pursued, but it will not save Israel’s democracy. Nor will it use notable new Israeli technologies to buy political influence abroad, however desirable that may be.
Nor does it replicate trade with foreign countries, which are vitally important to the Israeli economy and need to be expanded further. Nor will it maintain the military power and credible deterrence that are so vital to the country’s national security.
Nor will great progress be achieved in all fields of endeavor, including medicine, agronomy, chemistry, military innovation, engineering, electronics, and many others, which are outstanding achievements. on which every Israeli should be proud. Indeed, no matter how important all of the above means to the country, nothing will protect and defend Israel’s democracy.
Israel cannot secure and maintain its democracy unless its political leadership creates cohesion and equality in society with a functioning political system that provides political stability and places the national interest in the country. rise to the top.
Furthermore, Israel cannot and will never be a free country and a true democracy until it ends its infamous occupation that displeases Israel. Surely it is Achilles’ heel that will ultimately make or break Israel’s democracy.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a retired professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University (NYU). He has taught courses in international negotiation and Middle East studies for over 20 years.
IPS UN Office
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