Benjamin Netanyahu Lost His Chance to Form a Government Because His Voters Are Losing Faith in Him

At midnight on Tuesday, the deadline for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a governing coalition expired, and now President Reuven Rivlin has given the mandate to Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party received the second-largest number of Knesset seats in the recent election. Netanyahu’s Likud won that election by a substantial margin—30 seats as opposed to Yesh Atid’s 17—but not one large enough to maintain his hold on the premiership. Haviv Rettig Gur notes that this blow

came in the immediate aftermath of some of [Netanyahu’s] most spectacular successes as prime minister, including four peace agreements with the Arab world and a trailblazing vaccination campaign. It came, too, despite a steep drop in Arab turnout and last year’s shattering of the center-left Blue and White coalition. So how did [these four factors] fail to move the needle in Netanyahu’s favor?

The answer is simple: Likud shed huge numbers of voters, dropping from over 1,352,000 votes in March 2020 to just 1,067,000 a year later, a 21 percent decline. Netanyahu’s most reliable allies, the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, also declined, shedding over 10 percent of their voters. An Israel Democracy Institute analysis of the turnout data brings Likud’s problem into sharp relief. Put simply, Likud voters stayed home.

[But Netanyahu’s] opponents . . . are no better positioned to form a coalition than he was. If Lapid and [the Yamina party leader Naftali] Bennett manage to cobble together their broad-based unity coalition, Netanyahu will have almost limitless chances to try to destabilize it from the opposition. In a coalition stretching from deep-right Yamina to progressive Meretz, there’s hardly a policy issue that won’t spark internal opposition from one party or another.

Netanyahu failed to win the first three elections because he faced a unified center-left and a mobilized Arab electorate. He failed to win the fourth one because his own voters no longer felt a need to turn out for him.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, 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