Palestinian Actions, Not Benjamin Netanyahu, Have Made Israel Averse to Territorial Compromise

On Wednesday, the Knesset elected Israel’s next present, Isaac Herzog, who will assume office on July 9. Later the same day, Yair Lapid presented a coalition agreement to the current president, Reuven Rivlin. If the proposed coalition survives until its formal ratification by the Knesset, Naftali Bennett—who has spent the last several years trying to outflank the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu from the right—will become the next prime minister. The agreement stipulates that Lapid, who leads the center-left party Yesh Atid, will replace Bennett after two years.

Daniel Gordis explains that the new government, although “rickety,” actually demonstrates the solidity of the Israeli center, and not only because it pulls together eight parties from across the political spectrum. He goes on to make some other observations:

Bennett will be Israel’s first religious, kippah-wearing prime minister. That reflects many important shifts in Israeli life. . . . Lapid, to my knowledge, will be the first prime minister who belongs to a Reform synagogue.

One New York Times headline declared that many Palestinians were viewing Israel’s developing political story with “little more than a shrug.” That’s not terribly surprising, since when it comes to the Palestinians, Israelis are fairly united, left and right. There’s no deal with the Palestinians looming anywhere on the horizon, regardless of which parties form the coalition.

[As if to explain why], another New York Times article noted that “The presence of Mr. Bennett at the threshold of power is testament to how Mr. Netanyahu has helped shift the pendulum of Israeli politics firmly to the right.” This, though, ignores the fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected overtures from Israeli leaders. . . . Israeli politics moved to the right not because of Netanyahu, . . . but because even centrist and left-of-center Israelis have despaired of the Palestinians making a deal.

The two-state solution is alive and well—in the imaginations of Americans. Closer to home, it’s tragically seen as an idea out of a Disney movie: a sweet and enchanting idea for an ending to the story, utterly unrelated to the world we actually inhabit.

Read more at Israel from the Inside

More about: Israeli Election 2021, Israeli politics, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Judaism in Israel, Naftali Bennett, 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