Israel’s Electoral System Faces a Crisis, but Its Democracy Remains Strong

In December of 2018, the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, triggering early elections. Since then, the Jewish state had two inconclusive elections, both resulting in do-overs, and a third that yielded a unity government, which lasted for all of seven months. The fourth election, held on Tuesday, has proved similarly indecisive, and the possibility of another unstable and short-lived governing coalition, or even a fifth election, looms large. David Horovitz takes stock of the situation:

The pro-Netanyahu camp has 52 of the 120 Knesset seats. The anti-Netanyahu camp has 57. Naftali Bennett’s [right-wing] Yamina, possibly inclined toward Netanyahu, has seven. And the great election confounder, the conservative Islamic Ra’am party—which not one of the three ostensibly ultra-accurate TV exit polls predicted would make it into the Knesset—has four.

Dismally, Israel has been hamstrung by political crisis since way back in December 2018. . . . But its politics have not been paralyzed. These latest inconclusive elections saw Gideon Sa’ar break away from Likud, and Bennett directly challenge Netanyahu—rivals from his own side of the spectrum who rendered Tuesday’s vote the closest yet to a pure referendum on the prime minister, with forces left, right, and center all vying to oust him.

He’s not finished yet, but neither was he victorious, despite the vaccination success, which enabled the electorate to cram the supermarkets, beaches, and restaurants on election day.

Four inconclusive votes in less than two years, with no state budget and a crippled parliament, would indicate that [Israel’s] electoral system is dysfunctional. For now, at least, the pillars of our democracy are holding firm.

Read more at Times of Israel

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

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