Jaime Kardontchik

The people have spoken – and now what?

The final results of the latest Israeli election will be certified shortly and, as expected, Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, will come with a call for the formation of a broad national unity government. The “National Unity” party, presently headed by Benny Gantz (12 Knesset members, according to the latest counts), should head this call with a simple “Yes”.

There are no significant differences between the ideology and platforms of the Likud and the National Unity parties. What separates them is the personal animosity of a frustrated Benny Gantz, who wanted for so-long to replace Netanyahu in the post of Prime Minister, no matter the actual number of votes he got. Naftali Bennet – the leader of the now extinct “New Right” party – was more “successful”: With barely 6-8 mandates out of 120, he got to be “Prime Minister” under Yair Lapid. The actual price paid was the creation of a temporary vacuum in the political arena that was filled by the meteoric rise of the far-right party of Ben Gvir.

Perhaps in the private live one should follow the parents’ advice to “shoot for the moon”, but in politics if one tries again-and-again to reach for the moon and become Prime Minister, and the electorate shows again-and-again that it is not enthusiastic nor receptive to this idea, he/she should reach the appropriate conclusion and look for something else in life. The head of the failed “National Unity” party, Benny Gantz, (previously the head of the “Blue and White” party, previously the head of the “Resilience” party) should reach the appropriate conclusions from this defeat, give up his seat and let others take the helms of the “National Unity” party. The new leaders of the “National Unity” party should respond affirmatively to President Herzog’s call for a broad national unity government and join in good-faith negotiations with the “Likud” party for this purpose.

Let us return to sanity in governance: In this broad national unity government, “Bibi” Netanyahu will be Prime Minister. Not another round of “rotations” in this post. He deserves to be Prime Minister for the full term of the next government as the leader of the by-far largest political party, the Likud.

If the “National Unity” party does not do so, if it does not make a good-faith effort to join a broad national unity government, it will have only to blame itself for some unadvisable policies that the future Israeli government could pursue, and for the perception in the World of the new Israeli government as being “too far-right and extremist”. This would be bad for Israel and bad for the Jewish people in the Diaspora.

The majority of the electorate in Israel did not buy the idea that the “corruption” charges brought against Netanyahu are “real”. Many believe that these charges were politically motivated. The principle that “a person is innocent until it is proven in court that he is guilty” must take precedence.

For the sake of comparison: Lula da Silva has just been elected again President of Brazil by a narrow margin of 1%, and his election was immediately warmly received by the press, the social media and countries all over the world. Notice that Lula da Silva was sent to prison after the corruption charges against him were proven in court. Lula da Silva was later set free and allowed to run for the presidency of Brazil for a 3rd time, not because the corruption charges against him were later proven wrong. Lula da Silva was set free simply because of a technicality: he should not have been prosecuted in the southern city of Curitiba, but in the capital Brasilia [1]

If Lula da Silva is good enough for Brazil, then surely Benjamin Netanyahu is good enough for Israel, especially since the charges brought against Netanyahu have not yet been proven in court. And some of these charges are – in my humble opinion – hilarious (like the “case 1000” about cigars and bottles of wine and the “case 2000” about seeking positive coverage in the media). The fact that these charges have been discussed in court now for almost two years with no end in sight, is an indication of the weakness of the cases brought against Netanyahu.

Israel has more important problems and existential issues to deal with than the unending soap-opera of Netanyahu’s trial in court.


[1] Ernesto Londoño and Leticia Casado, “Brazil’s ex-president ‘Lula’ may run for office again as court cases are tossed”, The New York Times, March 8, 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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