After Israel’s Election, Politicians Might Have to Choose between Power and Good Governance

Yesterday, Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Israeli party Yamina, signed a pledge that he will not enter into a governing coalition with the left-of-center party Yesh Atid. In doing so, he has capitulated to pressure from Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud party is expected to get a plurality of the votes in tomorrow’s election, but who will be hard-pressed to form a coalition without Bennett. Haviv Rettig Gur examines the dilemma which Bennett and Netanyahu—fierce rivals for right-wing votes—will likely find themselves in after tomorrow’s election.

Bennett cannot reasonably ask for a rotation as prime minister [in a Likud-led coalition], but there is a demand he might make: . . . a “parity” government, a cabinet where Bennett and Netanyahu have an equal number of ministers, and where Bennett has the sole power to fire ministers under his control. Bennett would thereby also gain a veto over the cabinet agenda.

[But Bennett’s] bid for office rests on the premise that Netanyahu’s government has failed the country and that Netanyahu’s governing style has exacted a terrible cost for all Israelis. Just as Bennett will be hard-pressed to deny the right-wing its coalition, so he’ll be under immense pressure to show that the coalition he will be helping to form won’t be merely one more Netanyahu government in which he serves as just one more bit player and political servant.

In short, from Bennett’s perspective, a demand for parity is sensible and necessary. It would ensure Netanyahu carries out his commitments and grant Bennett the kind of policy influence he believes he deserves. And if Bennett takes that path, Netanyahu will face a painful dilemma. His next cabinet is already a crowded place.

Netanyahu is already said to be considering an idea bandied about last year after Likud MKs expressed bitterness at the number of ministries handed to Blue and White in the unity agreement. He may seek to rotate two or three ministers through each post during the next government’s term. It’s a great way to give stately honors to a large number of unhappy MKs; it’s a terrible way to govern.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2021, Israeli politics, Naftali Bennett

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7