Benny Gantz Should Be Praised for Compromising, Not Condemned for Capitulating

After three inconclusive elections in a year’s time, Israel’s political stalemate seemed to come to an end last week when the leaders of the two largest parties—Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu—agreed to form a governing coalition together with some of the smaller parties. According to the deal, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for eighteen months, after which he will be succeeded by Gantz. This compromise, paradoxically, has led to the breakup of Gantz’s Blue and White party, as two of its three constituent factions have refused to join the unity government. Their leaders have denounced Gantz for supposedly crumbling before Netanyahu, but Jonathan Tobin argues that he has acted bravely:

At a moment of crisis for the state of Israel, while everyone else around him was thinking only about short-term political gains and grudges, Gantz chose to save the country from further turmoil—and a possible fourth election—at a time when it was staggered by the high cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The government he forms with Netanyahu will enable the country to pass a budget and begin the work of recovering from an unprecedented economic disaster.

Gantz . . . had it within his power to cripple Netanyahu’s hopes of forming another government by using the votes of the 61 Knesset members who wanted to oust the prime minister to pass a law that would prevent someone currently under indictment (like Netanyahu) from forming a government. That would have doomed Netanyahu, but it also would have plunged Israel into political chaos at a time when the country is under a near-total shutdown as its overburdened medical staff and emergency workers fight the spreading contagion and rising toll of victims.

Though Gantz had been tempted to try to form a government with the support of the Joint Arab List, the former soldier also understood that this was a moment to transcend political grudges. That wasn’t true of [his erstwhile allies] Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, who clearly regard their desire to get even with Netanyahu for past offenses as more important than serving the country during a national crisis. They and many on the left, who have been praying for a chance finally to beat Netanyahu, are enraged that Gantz snatched it away.

Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Moshe Yaalon, Yair Lapid

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy