The Collapse of the Israeli Labor Party Is Bad for Israel’s Democracy

With Israel’s next national election scheduled for April, the campaign season has kicked off with the usual reshuffling of political parties, as new parties form—two of them led by prominent former chiefs of the IDF—and established ones fracture. The most important and surprising development so far has been the decision of the Labor party’s leader, Avi Gabbay, to end its alliance with the centrist Hatnuah, led by Tzipi Livni. Since its formation in 2014, the Labor-Hatnuah bloc has been the most important opposition force in the Knesset. Amnon Lord believes its collapse will ultimately empower unelected elites:

Although there are historical reasons for the consistent decline in the party’s power, they are not the reason Labor is projected to make a single-digit showing in the April 9 election. The media, and [the influential left-wing newspaper] Haaretz in particular, are responsible for Labor’s collapse. Haaretz’s treatment of Labor’s now-deposed leader Isaac Herzog (currently the head of the Jewish Agency) was tantamount to character assassination. It is worth bearing in mind that the [Labor-Hatnuah bloc], may it rest in peace, still has 24 lawmakers in the Knesset [out of a total of 120] thanks to Herzog and Livni. . . . [But] the establishment left is controlled not by its voters but by external factors.

Should the justice system, God forbid, succeed in taking down Benjamin Netanyahu [as a result of the ongoing corruption investigation], the [unelected] establishment will determine policies in every field. The justice system will continue its self-transformation into a quasi-legislative branch. . . . The defense establishment will determine Israel’s defense policies. . . . Netanyahu is the only prime minister since David Ben-Gurion to succeed in steering Israel’s foreign and security policy in a different direction from the one being promoted by the defense establishment. Regulators, like those tasked with antitrust and the capital market, and the Bank of Israel, will determine economic policies.

The Likud party, with Netanyahu at its head, is the sole survivor of the elected and functioning political system. It is the last anchor for the expression of the will of the people.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli democracy, Israeli politics, Labor Party, Tzipi Livni

Why Israel Pretends That Hamas Fired Rockets by Accident

March 21 2019

Israeli military and political officials have repeated Hamas’s dubious claim that the launching of two rockets at Tel Aviv last week was inadvertent. To Smadar Perry, accepting Hamas’s story rather than engaging in further retaliation is but a convenient, and perhaps necessary, way of aiding Egyptian efforts to broker a deal with the terrorist group. But even if these efforts succeed, the results will be mixed:

The [Israeli] security cabinet has met in Tel Aviv and decided that they would continue indirect negotiations with Gaza. A message was sent to Egypt, whose delegation is going back to Gaza to pass on the Israeli demands for calm. The Egyptians also have to deal with the demands from Hamas, which include, among other things, an increase in aid from $15 million to $30 million per month and an increase in the supply of electricity.

The requests are reasonable, but they do leave a sour taste in the mouth. Israel must ensure that this financial aid does not end up in the pockets of Hamas and its associates. [Israel] also knows that if it says “no” to everything, the Iranians will step in, with the help of their Gazan friends in Islamic Jihad. They are just waiting for the opportunity.

Hamas also must deal with the fallout from a series of massive handouts from Qatar. For when the citizens of the Gaza Strip saw that the money was going to the Hamas leadership, who were also enjoying a fine supply of electricity to their own houses, they took to the streets in protest—and this time it was not Israel that was the focus of their anger. . .

[But] here is the irony. With Egyptian help, Israel can reach understandings for calm with Gaza, despite the lack of a direct channel. . . . In the West Bank, where the purportedly friendlier Fatah is in charge, it is more complicated, at least until the eighty-three-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is replaced.

As evidence for that last statement, consider the murder of two Israelis in the West Bank on Sunday, and the Palestinians who threw explosives at Israeli soldiers at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem yesterday.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, West Bank