August 20, 2019

A Rare Second Chance In Israeli Politics

“On May 29, the Knesset decided unexpectedly to dissolve and hold new elections on Sept. 17. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu preferred to take this route rather than accept his failure to form a government and allow President Reuven Rivlin to entrust the task to someone else. This serves to effectively turn the April 9 elections into a “pilot,” the preview for the real event.

The April elections for the 21st Knesset have enabled Israel’s political parties to assess their current levels of support. For voters, it has offered a glimpse at “the day after,” when candidates remove their masks and reveal their true priorities, never imagining that they will soon have to face their constituents again.

The Likud’s election campaign as well as the ensuing coalition talks candidly revealed how Netanyahu’s first and last priority has been to save his own skin, to which end involves efforts to crush the Supreme Court and to change the country’s immunity law. Israelis saw Netanyahu push for an amendment allowing the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings against unconstitutional laws and against administrative government decisions. In a frantic, last-minute bid to form a government, Netanyahu also pushed through the merger of Likud and Kulanu, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and offered opposition Labor Party Chair Avi Gabbay the job of finance minister, and more.”

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