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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Israelis see new government as beginning of a new era

Israelis across the political spectrum see the formation of a new government after four failed attempts as the beginning of a new era, which will, in all likelihood, mark the end of Benjamin Netanyahus ultra-long political tenure in office.

The new kaleidoscopic government composed of elements from right and the left, several women and significantly, Israeli-Arabs raises hope and anxiety at the same time. Will it last long enough to be the million Shekel question? Yet all across the political wall seem to want it to give the new “change coalition” a shot at decent inclusive governance. This will be the first occasion in its history that an Israeli Arab party has joined a governing coalition.

An editorial in the centre- left Haaretz newspaper could hardly contain its restrained excitement.

It acknowledged that the new government’s “seams are basted together roughly and could split at any moment”.

Yet, it fervently hoped that the new national emergency government, if successful, “could return politics and public discourse in Israel to the path of reason and level headedness.” While ideological differences will not be concealed, “it will make it possible for them to exist in a space that is cleaner, in which political rivals can operate without being labelled enemies or traitors”.

There is a general consensus in Israel’s political class that the muscular divisive politics of Benjamin Netanyahu cemented the disparate new coalition.

“Netanyahu will also go down in history now as the political leader who managed to bring arch rivals together to form a coalition even including an Arab Islamist party for the sole purpose of bringing him down. He became one of Israel’s most divisive politicians. He ruled through fear and division, and became notorious for failing to keep his word,” read an opinion piece in the generally right-wing Jerusalem Post newspaper.

The article went on to describe the new government as the “true kaleidoscope coalition, bringing together almost every colour the Israeli political spectrum has to offer. It is what we should always want to see in our government: as wide as possible a representation of the public who politicians are elected to serve”.

In tune with the Haaretz opinion the Jerusalem Post piece was also optimistic that political decency even among arch-political opponents will be respected and not become personal. “They (the new government) can take an example from the (presidential) race between Isaac Herzog and Miriam Peretz this week. The two candidates for president did not attack one another nor insult one another. They competed fairly and responsibly, and after Herzog was announced the winner, they embraced publicly for the nation to see.”

The new “change coalition” government was formed after Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, announced an eight-faction coalition had been formed. A rotation arrangement, which has been achieved entails that Naftali Bennett, of the right-wing Yamina party, would serve as prime minister first before handing over the reigns to Lapid. Apart from the duo the real star of the new formation is Mansour Abbas, leader of the Arab Raam party.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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