Israel reels from rockets, riots and arm-wrestles

April 27, 2021 by David Singer
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Rockets from Gaza indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population and Arab riots targeting Israel’s Jewish population in the streets of Jerusalem seem to have not moved Israel’s politicians to stop engaging in arm-wrestles in pursuit of their own personal political power.

It is hard to know who is to blame for this current sorry state of affairs: the electors who have brought about – what appears on the face of it – four indecisive elections in two years – or the seemingly intelligent politicians they have elected who have been unable to reach a compromise on setting up a Government with 61 of the Knesset’s 120 currently-elected representatives.

A vendetta continues to be pursued to remove Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu – despite the overwhelming vote of confidence he and his party received from Israeli voters on 23 March 2021 – 1,066,892 votes.

The following leaders and their respective parties are seeking to replace Netanyahu as Prime Minister or deny him the right to head a right of centre Government:

All three and their respective parties have similar policies and political ideologies as Netanyahu and his allies. Collectively – as Likud, Shas, Yemina, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beitenu, Religious Zionism and New Hope – they comprise 72 of the 120 Knesset members.

These three leaders need to fall in behind Netanyahu to end the political uncertainty steadily eroding Israel’s ability to deal with the challenges it is facing – not only from rockets and rioting – but from the continuing confrontation with Iran, Hezbollah, the International Criminal Court, a hostile United Nations and the Biden Administration.

That this appalling political stand-off could have also been avoided in the three previous elections is an indictment on the common obstructionist denominator in all four elections: Avigdor Liberman

Liberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party have managed to garner the following votes on each occasion:

Given that valid votes cast have increased over the period of these four elections from 4,309,270 votes in April 2019 to 4,410,052 votes in March 2021 – the electors have clearly indicated their loss of support for – and confidence in – Liberman and his cronies. Yet he continues to dictate and dominate the political stage in a manner that can only be considered to be inimical to Israel’s domestic and international interests – overwhelmingly rejected by Israelis voting with their feet.

Bennett has hardly fared much better. His party –Yamina – in the 9 April 2019 elections secured 138,598 votes – followed successively by 260,655 votes, 240,689 votes and 273,836 votes. He can hardly claim to be Israel’s next Prime Minister with this kind of electoral support.

Netanyahu trounced Sa’ar in the race for Likud leadership last December – winning some 72.5% of the party vote in a landslide win. Sa’ar formed his own breakaway party – New Hope – with disastrous results in the recent election.

That Netanyahu should continue to be frustrated in leading Israel’s next Government by these three political spoilers beggars belief.

Netanyahu certainly has his problems – spending an increasing amount of his time in defending three indictments brought against him by Israel’s Attorney General. However, the presumption of innocence should be afforded him – as it is with any other person in Israel facing charges.

It surely is time for these three amigos – Liberman, Bennett and Sa’ar – to put the voters ahead of their own personal ambitions, swallow their pride and end their political grandstanding.

Israel – and Israelis – deserve better.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a foundation member of the International Analysts Network


Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.

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