Locked into self-destruct mode

30th April 2017

This issue is devoted to Section B: Domestic Politics, because much has happened and further developments can be expected– probably culminating in the collapse of the current coalition and the fall of the Likud-led government.

The analysis presented takes the view that there is no objective reason for the government to fall so soon and no rational explanation for what has happened, is happening and seems set to happen. Rather, we must accept that the destructive forces at work are driven by irrationality – and nowhere more so than in the behaviour of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. His actions in the domestic arena and the consequent interactions with his colleagues, culminating in a break between himself and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, have mystified politicians and pundits alike and left the general public bemused. The phrase most frequently used by both insiders and observers is that Netanyahu has “lost it” and that precisely because there is no rationale, the consequence of his behaviour is that he is destroying himself and inflicting growing damage on his party.

Although I have written for some time about what I regard as the inevitability of Netanyahu’s fall and the break-up of Likud that will follow, I am as surprised as everyone else at the way he is ready and even eager to break up this coalition over issues that he regards as cardinal, but that others view as marginal or irrelevant. Perhaps most amazing of all is that in tandem with his bizarre behaviour in the domestic arena, Netanyahu continues to function well, even impressively, on the wider global stage.

In addition to discussing these developments at length, this issue also reviews the positions of the other main players on the Israeli political stage. It transpires that Netanyahu and Likud have no monopoly on self-destruction, because Labour has been engaged in this for many years and, if anything, is currently intensifying its efforts to ensure that it will remain incapable of providing an alternative to Likud.

In sharp contrast, a new generation of leaders and parties is readying itself to reshape the Israeli political map. This can and should be seen in the wider context of political upheaval in the UK, US, France and elsewhere but, I believe, the Israeli case is different in one key respect: namely that the political centre in Israel is firm and actually growing. Consequently, when it is complete, the outcome of the Israeli upheaval will be very different from those of the older democracies.

B: Domestic Politics

a) Exhibit A: The crumbling coalition

b) Exhibit B: Netanyahu and Kahlon part ways

c) Exhibit C: Dr. Netanyahu & Mr. Bibi

d) Rivals for the succession: same goal, different routes

e) Exhibit D: The opposition/ alternative government

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