Term Limits Won’t Solve Israel’s Political Problems

Nov. 19 2021

On Monday, a ministerial committee approved legislation, to be submitted to the Knesset as a whole, that would bar any individual from serving as prime minister for more than eight years. The bill is clearly written with the recent case of Benjamin Netanyahu—who served as head of the government from 1993 to 1996, and again from 2009 to 2021—in mind. There are those who simply want to keep him from making a comeback, and others, including some of his erstwhile supporters, who feel he wore out his welcome, and that his desire to stay in power led to the two recent years of multiple elections and political stalemate. To Ariel Kahana, the reform is short-sighted, and creates far more problems than it solves:

On the national level, . . . history shows us that prime ministers serve a very short time—too short a time. In an era that requires long-term planning, very long-term, Naftali Bennett is the thirteenth prime minister of Israel since 1948. This means that each prime minister has served an average of 5.6 years. If we put aside Ben-Gurion and Netanyahu, who together spent 27 years as prime minister, the average term in office drops to four years. So why is it so urgent to put an artificial eight-year term limit in place?

Even before the political crisis of the last two years, the governments of Israel didn’t tend to last for long. A technical cut to terms will only destabilize them more, at a time when we need stability, not increased turnover. Israel hasn’t even been rescued from the political maelstrom that engulfed it. The current government is still rotational, and enjoys only a single-MK majority. When everything hangs on a thread, why strike another blow?

What’s more, experience shows us that changes to the rules of government in Israel leads to unexpected, negative results. In the 1990s a passing whim, similar to what is taking place now, led to a law for the direct election of the prime minister in a separate ballot. At the time, it was presented as a revelation that would save the government from chronic instability. The result was the exact opposite. The representative parliamentary system suffered a major blow from which it still hasn’t recovered.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli politics

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror