How the Israeli Government’s Instability Paved the Way for an Expansion of Religious and Economic Freedom

July 29 2021

On Sunday, a Knesset committee will vote on what is known as the arrangements law, a complex piece of omnibus legislation that covers a great swath of government business, and must accompany every biennial budget. Failure to pass it will trigger snap elections and the collapse of the government. Included in the bill are sweeping reforms easing regulations and allowing for more competition in everything from kosher certifications to agricultural products—even as it introduces more regulation in other areas. Haviv Rettig Gur explains why these changes, likely to have salutary effects on the Israeli economy, are suddenly on the table:

These reforms share one characteristic: all have been advocated for many years, but could not advance due to resistance from industry groups, government agencies, or various political factions. Ḥaredi parties stood in the way of taxing sugary drinks and plasticware, while farmers’ and manufacturers’ lobbies resisted the agriculture and import reforms. [So] what explains the sudden uncorking of all that resistance all at once? It isn’t the personalities involved: the reforms are being pushed by different ministers from a broad cross-section of parties.

It may, in fact, be a result of the Bennett-Lapid government’s fragility and instability.

The new government’s ability to advance bold reforms comes not from its leader, but from its lack of one. No single politician dominates this coalition as Netanyahu did its predecessors. It’s a government keenly aware that any of its member factions could topple it at any moment. It is in that sense a more egalitarian cabinet than any in Israel’s history. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and [his main coalition partner] Yair Lapid must cajole and convince; they have too little parliamentary wiggle room to demand or to punish. . . . And, of course, the coalition’s fragility makes each minister and faction all the more eager to be seen achieving major victories quickly.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Israeli economy, Israeli politics, Knesset

 

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank