After weeks of negotiations, the members of the Knesset again failed to form a governing coalition ahead of the legal deadline, which means that Israelis will go to the polls yet again in March—marking the third national election in less than twelve months. The consequences, write David Horovitz, are serious:
The sheer cost of these repeat votes is embarrassing—tens of millions of shekels (spent) each time just on election propaganda; two days off work nationwide in April and September and possibly another in March, unless they decide we’ve had enough national election holidays; and a staggering total of almost $3 billion for all the combined direct and indirect costs of the three elections. And, oh, how we could do without the weeks and weeks of more political infighting on the campaign trail—the bitching, and the spinning, and the demonizing of left and right, ultra-Orthodox and secular, Arab and Jew.
Certainly there is more than enough blame to go around, argues Horovitz, upbraiding most of the major political players for their mistakes. But he also believes there is room for hope:
Rather than looking at round three of elections as proof of the system’s failure and paralysis, perhaps it is enabling the electorate to work through the hugely sensitive decision of who should lead this country, and thus how and where it should be led, a little more protractedly than is the norm. Perhaps our system is actually working for us rather than against us. . . . Our politicians have been tested twice, we’re about to test them again, and that might just enable us to make a more definitive decision.
[Israel’s] electorate, [political] system, and politicians have combined to force a third election in less than a year. We might not like it, but ultimately, we chose it; we did it to ourselves. Election Three is our creation. And maybe . . . we’ll finally manage to make up our collective mind.