Israel’s Government Might Not Collapse, but Israelis Will Still Pay the Price of Paralysis

April 12 2022

The Knesset member Idit Silman announced on Sunday that she had no intention of returning to her place in the government, thus leaving the legislature split evenly between those who are part of the ruling coalition—led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid—and those who are in the opposition. After seeking to explain the motivations behind Silman’s defection, Haviv Rettig Gur details the likely consequences:

The political system has entered—or re-entered—a period of uncertainty. But one thing is not uncertain. The current government, if it survives, will be unable to muster parliamentary majorities for any significant initiative. Reforms or major budgetary decisions are all frozen now. The paralysis of 2019-2021 is back.

Perhaps it was inevitable. . . . But there are real costs to that paralysis. . . . A major, urgently needed billion-shekel package of financial aid for small businesses hurt by pandemic closures hangs in the legislative balance, as does a new pension framework for the army, a minimum-wage increase, and tax breaks for working parents. The largest-ever transportation spending bill, a dramatic upgrade to the country’s rail networks, now sits on the Knesset docket waiting to move forward. A revised ḥaredi draft bill that would release more young ḥaredi men from their study obligations and allow them to join the workforce at a younger age will be frozen.

So it goes for a dozen more major initiatives, most of them supported as wholeheartedly by Likud as by Labor and [the hard-left] Meretz, but now headed for a political deep freeze.

Politics isn’t a sport. . . . It is, first and foremost, the management of the people’s business—and that business will once again not get done.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Knesset, Naftali Bennett

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism