Jaime Kardontchik
Jaime Kardontchik

How to exit the endless elections loop in Israel

The Likud will not be able to form a stable government. Yesh Atid will not be able either. Let us save the people of Israel two months of futile political trading between the 13 political parties that passed the 3.25% threshold, and avoid also destructive actions that could be taken by an opportunistic simple majority of the new Knesset (like a vendetta against Netanyahu [1].)

My proposal is: For the good of the country, both Netanyahu and Lapid should give up their intentions to become the next Prime Minister. The first for being perhaps too many consecutive years as Prime Minister, the second for being too many years as the leader of the opposition. The objective of a successful opposition in a parliamentary system is to replace the government, not to paralyze it. Lapid succeeded in the latter, but repeatedly failed in the main objective: replace the government. He should recognize that the people of Israel do not trust him enough to be Prime Minister. Perhaps both should take a pause from politics. I do not know if someone will remember Yair Lapid ten years later. But everyone will remember Netanyahu’s many contributions to the State of Israel.

Yuli Edelstein, the present Health minister and a member of the Likud, by far the largest party, who in the past served with distinction as the Knesset Speaker and was sometimes mentioned also as candidate for the office of the Israeli Presidency, should be tasked with forming the next government and become Prime Minister. He is respected by the Israeli public and even a Labor Knesset member, Omer Bar-Lev, came up with this suggestion after the second election round in 2019. I like also his personal biography of being a distinguished refusenik in the Soviet Russia.

And here are the coalition partners for this government: Likud (30), Yamina (7), Yesh Atid (17), Blue & White (8), Labor (7), Shas (9), United Torah Judaism (7) and Ra’am (5). These are 90 Knesset members, representing the views of the majority of the Israeli population: a center-right secular block (Likud and Yamina, 37), a center-left secular block (Yesh Atid, Blue & White and Labor, 34), a religious Jewish block (Shas and UTJ, 16) and an Arab party (Ra’am, 5)

New Hope (6) should not be part of the government coalition: Israelis should not encourage the splitting and formation of new parties driven just by plain personal animosities. By the same reason, Yisrael Beytenu (7) should not be part of the coalition government. In addition, its rhetoric has deeply antagonized significant parts of the Israeli public, both Jews and Arabs. The Religious Zionism list (6) should be left out of the government too: it hosts inside it the extreme views of the Otzma Yehudit faction.

Meretz (5) and the Joint List (6) truly represent unique ideological sectors of the Israeli public and their representation in the Knesset is vital for Israel’s democracy, but their views are very far apart from the vast majority of the Israeli public. Hence, their right place is to make their voice heard in the Knesset but outside the government.

Just a dream? If you have something better to end the endless circle of inconclusive elections and eternal transitional governments – just propose it.

[1] Let us remind the readers of another popular, this time leftist, head of state in recent history, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He served twice as Brazil’s President during 2002-2010. He was later sent to prison in 2018 for nine years on charges of corruption in a highly controversial trial held while he was starting a run for a third presidential term and was disqualified from running. This year, 2021, a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of Brazil ruled that all Lula’s convictions must be nullified and he was set free after spending almost two years in jail. Lula began now campaigning for a third term in the coming presidential elections in Brazil and many major news and world press outlets are excited, delighted and supportive of Lula. When hearing about the release of Lula from jail, President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina exclaimed ‘Justice has been done’, arguing that the cases against Mr. da Silva had been pursued “solely with the aim of persecuting him and eliminating him from the political contest.” Political allies abroad celebrated the prospect of a comeback by Mr. da Silva, who convinced many leftist leaders around the world that the cases against him were a form of what he and his defense team called “lawfare”. [New York Times, March 3, 2021]

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
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