Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionism party, says, “My voters don’t care if I’m a homophobe or fascist” (Times of Israel, 16.1.2023). Less than 11 percent of voting Israelis voted for his party.
Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit, formerly part of the Religious Zionism block) pushes to legislate to end a ban on Members of Knesset who incite to racism. According to the Times of Israel (29.12.2022), “this is the first time serving as a government minister for the far-right politician, who has had numerous criminal convictions”. By the way, how can a party block dissolve following the successful formation of a new government without bringing that government down?
Aryeh Deri (Shas) has previously been convicted of bribery and tax evasion. Israel’s Supreme Court says his appointment as a minister is ‘unreasonable in the extreme’ and he has been disqualified. Shas received a tad over 8 percent of the vote.
The Prime Minister, also under criminal investigation but not yet convicted (as previously was his spouse), has chosen a number of convicted criminals to lead Israel’s ministries (see above). How could the majority of Israelis be represented by this group? What happened to the adage that ALL Israelis are supposed to be advocated for and represented by government officials, elected or otherwise.
While it is not logical to infer that 19 percent of Israel’s electorate prefers criminals as Israel’s national leadership, the Prime Minister (allegedly) and at least some of his key partners are just that – criminals. Hence, it looks as though Israel’s prison population is becoming better represented by this new government than anyone else.
If Diaspora Jews do not like the way in which Israel’s political landscaping is evolving, perhaps a mass Aliyah should be encouraged so that they can more effectively express their opinions by voting. Jewish or not, more Israelis can effectively express their confidence in whom they wish to be represented by voting. However, it is this mostly whacky Israeli party system that needs to be more effective. Greater effectiveness and success at the polls can come about if the parties that lost in the last election: Organize – Coalesce – Win. Be the People.