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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Israel Hayom

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

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship