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.