Raanan Shaked
Raanan Shaked
An Isrseli man walks past campaign posters for Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz ahead of the March 2020  elections

Israel's most diverse, interesting and complex government

Opinion: The citizens of the country know that Netanyahu's policies of divisiveness were meant to serve his own personal interests and expect the new government - with its broad range of parties that represent almost all sectors of society - to set an agenda that will unify the public

Raanan Shaked |
Published: 06.19.21, 23:25
Israelis of all political stripes have experienced outrage and betrayal when their elected representatives defected to the other side of the political divide.
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  • The center-left electorate were subjected to those feelings when Blue & White leader Benny Gantz opted to Join former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition last year, despite campaigning on the need to replace him.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Israel Elections
    Israel Elections
    An Isrseli man walks past campaign posters for Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz ahead of the March 2020 elections
    (Photo: EPA)
    Or when MK Orly Levy, who was elected on a joint left-wing Meretz and Labor ticket, announced that her political views were more in line with the right-wing and took her Knesset seat with her into the Likud.
    Now there are those on the right, the religious Zionist right for the most part, who also feel betrayed, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former settlement advocate and leader of the religious right, partnered with the left and with the Islamist Ra'am party to form the new coalition. He too had vowed never to join forces with his new political partners.
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    השבעת הממשלה
    השבעת הממשלה
    Members of the Religious Zionism party protesting the new government during the Knesset session to approve it earlier this week
    (Photo: Knesset channel)
    It is a humiliating feeling for his voters, and could lead to the sense that politics is a nothing but a con masking the greatest of frauds.
    But the outcry from some on the right, calling the government shameful and the most illegitimate in the country's history, are wrong.
    This government represents the most sectors of Israeli society, despite the fact that the Likud, the largest faction in the Knesset, and the ultra-Orthodox parties were not a part of it.
    Both earned their seats in the opposition after the failings of the past two years, including the conduct of many in the Haredi communities during the coronavirus, and the deteriorating security situation.
    Unlike its predecessor, the new government does not ignore 50% of Israelis, those who hold left-wing liberal views. It is the most diverse, interesting and complex government Israel has ever known.
    It contains a right-wing contingency, it represents the national religious sector, includes the left-wing, the Russian-speaking electorate and for the first time in Israel's history proports to give equal standing to the Arab community.
    This all-Israeli alliance is a courageous effort to represent the most people and has declared itself to be the government of reconciliation that is dneeded in Israel today.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    הפגנה של תומכי ימין ושמאל מול ביתה של איילת שקד
    הפגנה של תומכי ימין ושמאל מול ביתה של איילת שקד
    Right-wing activists protest outside the Tel Aviv home of Ayelet Shaked over her decision to join the coalition for change
    (Photo: AP)
    When right-wing pundits say the government will be torn apart by irreconcilable differences, they believe Israelis are so divided that there would be no way to bridge the gap.
    They think that one half of the country despises the other so much so that there can only be all-out war on every issue and that the fight will end only when political opponents are humiliated and silenced.
    This cynical view of Israeli society was the motivation behind the Netanyahu governments and in the four election cycles he forced on the country in two years.
    Israel could have remained trapped by Netanyahu's divisiveness. There were times when many Israelis believed they could never be free of it.
    But since not all politicians were best served by keeping Israelis divided, some were brave enough to stand up and declare that despite the differences in political views, they could work together, if only for a short while.
    The new government cast aside the paradigm that certain sectors of the society must be the enemies of other sectors. It is a coalition that is not fueled by hate.
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    מפגש יהודים וערבים
    מפגש יהודים וערבים
    Jewish and Arab residents of Haifa calling last month for unity and cooperation between sectors
    (Photo: Hanan Ziso Communications)
    Most Israelis know that Netanyahu's political agendas were motivated by his personal interests. And despite his efforts to divide them, they know Israel has no interest in being divided into opposing sectors.
    It is now up to those who formed the new government to continue their mission accordingly.

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