So there is now a purely right-wing government running the state of Israel. Theoretically, there was a purely right-wing government beforehand, but that government had a majority of one, making it very difficult to push through an agenda.
Now Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon is out of both the government and Knesset, Liberman and Israel Beiteinu are in and everything has changed.
The truth is that the people who are going to be most disappointed with this new “pure” right-wing government are the people who voted for it. Whether you’re a die-hard Likudnik or Israel Beiteinu or HaBayit HaYehudi, you’re not going to get any of the policies you voted for. In fact, government sources have already rushed to say that the two-state solution is still on the table.
Which is bizarre — because it may be on the table, but it isn’t in any Likud document you’ll find.
In order to get into government, Liberman had to drop just about every core principle his party has. And now that Likud, together with Naphtali Bennett’s Jewish Home Party, are firmly in charge you might think that there will be moves to annex the West Bank in accordance with what their core values are. But they won’t.
Yehuda Glick, the Jewish Temple Mount activist who was shot not long ago in a botched assassination attempt, is the newest Likud Member of Knesset. As a result, you might expect there to be movement on whether Jews are officially allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.
Don’t hold your breath; there’ll be nothing.
And this highlights the weakness of the Israeli governmental system. No matter who you vote for or who takes charge, you’ll be confronted with the same kind of laissez-faire politics, the same atrophied system of politicians making large pronouncements while doing very little. Thereby disappointing everyone.
What this government will do is cause the cracks in Israeli society to broaden into fissures, even as they try to paper over them. The Arab baiting will continue and whenever there is public unrest about an issue there will inevitably be further military operations against Hamas and the specter of never-ending warfare that Likud promotes as “conflict management.”
Most symbolic of the malaise in Israeli politics for me personally was always the sad exhortations of failed left-wing politicians in Rabin Square on the anniversary of his assassination. These people stand up and pass the burden of responsibility for change onto an impotent crowd rather than taking it onto their own shoulders, always saying something to the effect of, “And now it’s on you to fight for the government you deserve.”
Instead of being energizing, this is simply demoralizing. And I’m sick of it. Of all of it.
In Ya’alon’s parting shot at the government, he says:
I hope that the general public, too, on right and left, understands the serious consequences of the takeover of the center by an extremist minority, and will fight these phenomena. This is existential; the state’s existence depends on it.
Perhaps he can’t see the irony of calling on others to fight even as he surrenders, but I can.
Israeli politics is a plague on our house.