Israel’s Ungainly New Government, Despite Its Flaws, Might Be Just What the Country Needs

Yesterday, the leaders of the eight parties that form the Jewish state’s new governing-coalition-to-be met for the first time. Although the coalition was officially approved by the president, it is far from a sure thing that it will be voted in by the Knesset—which might not happen until next week. David M. Weinberg considers the merits of this highly unstable and ideologically heterogenous new government:

The coalition agreement . . . reminds me of a business contract where partners divvy-up assets in a situation of zero trust. The documents [specifying its terms] do not read as accords designed to heal the country. . . . In fact, all parties are expected to stymie other parts of the coalition on any issue of controversy, like issues of religion and state, alternative-family rights, diplomatic moves in the Palestinian arena, and even the much-needed, ramped-up policing of the Israeli Arab and Bedouin sectors.

In other words, the coalition deal is a cockamamie contrivance almost purposefully designed to achieve political paralysis. All parties are neutered, except where they might, hopefully, agree on overarching policies, such as health and economic recovery plans, and countering Iran.

Under normal circumstances, I would say that this is a terrible thing; an incoherent and impossible method to govern the country. It could fail in 1,000 different ways.

But these are not normal times. Israel cannot afford a fifth election within three years. Israel’s most critical challenges (like the likelihood of more military conflict with Iran and/or its proxies, and of Arab insurrection in Jerusalem) can best be tackled by a broad right-left government. . . . Even more important is the absolute and urgent need to tone down this country’s political heat; to restrain Israel’s raging political fevers after 32 months of furious campaigning.

Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: 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