TLR 192- Silly politics and electoral entertainment, while serious trends develop beneath the surface
July 8, 2019
This issue is a direct continuation of the previous one, devoted to developments in domestic politics – despite the fact that the general public, which saw no reason to have another election, has shown no interest in the campaign to date Indeed, there is very little substance to generate interest. Yet nevertheless the wheels turn, decisions are made, party leaders rise and fall and the wider political process moves ahead.
This issue, as the previous one, presents both a review of what has happened – often with a need to explain events that seem inexplicable – and an analysis of where things are going. The central themes of both are that the noise and confusion characterising Israeli politics in 2019 reflect a dramatic change in the political environment. The era of Netanyahu-dominated stability ended in late 2018, and has been replaced by a period of interregnum in which new players, parties and, eventually, ideas will struggle for dominance. That period may well stretch into several years; what is certain is that the next election in September, like that in April, will only be a station in the journey into the post-Netanyahu, post-Likud era.
To better understand why the end of Netanyahu’s career will probably also signal the end of Likud domination of Israeli politics and the onset of a much wider ‘new era’, this issue considers the broader context of Israeli life – political, sociological, economic. The forces at work in Israeli society in the 21st century are very different from those that shaped Israel, its creation and development, in the second half of the 20th century. Furthermore, these forces – some of them global, some local, and some local variations on global themes – are developing far more rapidly than did their forerunners in the previous century.
Seen in that light, it is inevitable that these changes in society will find political expression via new parties, new leaders and, above all, new ideas. What is surprising is that it has taken so long for the upheaval to begin, but now that it has, it will surely gain momentum – but that is not to say that it will proceed smoothly.
While domestic attention is focused on short-term political shenanigans, important developments are underway in the Israeli economy – many, but by no means all, negative. Externally, in the region and globally, no-one is waiting for the Israelis to sort out their messy politics: from Iran to China, matters of grave importance to Israel continue to develop. This newsletter will therefore leave the Israeli election campaign to simmer quietly and return its attention to the economy and to geo-politics.
B: Domestic Politics
- Ludicrous and laughable
- Barak rides again
- Stay focused