Israel Faces Yet Another Electoral Stalemate

While roughly 90 percent of the votes from Tuesday’s election have been counted, the results are likely to remain uncertain until Friday, if not until Monday. It does seem, however, that—unlike in the three previous elections—the Likud party has a clear plurality, with a prospective 30 Knesset seats as compared to the seventeen of the runner-up Yesh Atid. At present neither Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu nor Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid has an easy or obvious path to forming a majority coalition. Even if a coalition does form, it will be highly unstable. Jonathan Tobin comments:

This fourth consecutive election stalemate in two years is a discouraging outcome for the Jewish state. It’s not just an annoying waste of time. More than that, it has been estimated that the cost of holding these four votes amounted to $4.24 billion—a staggering sum for a small country that, like the rest of the world, is dealing with the economic catastrophe caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. . . . Then there is the plain fact that the lack of a national budget for 2020—let alone 2021—is also a blow to stability and the country’s economic well-being.

And yet, the one person who hasn’t been hurt by it is Netanyahu. The failure to form a stable government has served him fairly well since it enables him to govern without actually winning an election. . . . But the election results speak volumes about both his strengths and his weaknesses.

While the incumbent prime minister finds himself in the same position he has been in for at least two years, the state of the Arab vote has changed dramatically, after Mansour Abbas split his Islamist Ra’am party from the other three that form the Joint Arab List. Ra’am is currently expected to have five seats in the Knesset. Tobin observes:

As he promised during the campaign . . . Abbas says that he is open to supporting either side of the Israeli political divide in order to advance the interests of Israeli Arabs. That opens up the possibility that one of the non-Jewish parties would become part of a government, even if it meant supporting it from outside the coalition.

If Ra’am enables Netanyahu and the Likud to govern in this fashion, . . . it would give the lie to the canard that Israel is an “apartheid state.” It would also illustrate just how far the Abraham Accords and the other normalization deals between Israel and Arab and Muslim states, have helped erode support for the century-long war on Zionism. Friendly relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are a signal to Arab voters that it’s in their interests to stop acting like auxiliaries of Palestinian terror groups.

Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2021, Israeli politics, Joint List

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