Making Sense of Israel’s Election

Today, Israelis go to the polls to choose a new Knesset for the fourth time in two years. The staff of the Times of Israel provide a useful explanation of the reasons the last government collapsed, and profile the 37 parties vying for votes. According to the latest polls, Likud remains the frontrunner, but Yesh Atid is expected to get the second-largest number of parliamentary seats—which means that its leader, Yair Lapid, has a chance of being prime minister:

Yesh Atid, which describes itself as a “centrist” party, has published and updated one of the most comprehensive platforms of any party running in recent years.

Among the platform’s many, many proposals: strengthening Knesset oversight over the cabinet and limiting the number of ministers; term limits on the post of prime minister; separating Israel from the Palestinians; writing a constitution; instituting civil marriage; strengthening anti-corruption rules in government; cutting and streamlining government regulation on the business sector; . . . expanding work opportunities for minorities; [and] incentivizing the switch to electric vehicles.

Among the several new parties running is New Hope, led by Likud defectors and tying for third place in the polls:

A former longtime Likud member, the New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar’s biggest selling point has been that he is not Benjamin Netanyahu, and he has declared he has lost faith in the premier.

The party says it will prioritize West Bank settlements and reform the judicial system, placing itself firmly on the right of Israel’s political spectrum. It says it is committed to the “realization of the natural and historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel” [and] supporting a free-market economy with “a fair promise of opportunity for all.” . . . The party’s platform includes . . . limiting the premiership to eight years, changing the electoral system to include some representatives elected by district, increasing aid for immigrants, increasing the number of public healthcare providers, and far-reaching reforms to the education system.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gideon Sa'ar, Israeli Election 2021, Israeli politics, Yair Lapid

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