Netanyahu’s Deal With The Devil(s)

 Benjamin Netanyahu may be in trouble.

Bibi leads Likhud, a conservative party somewhat like the American GOP.  his party won the last election not on its own but as part of a promised coalition with other right-wing parties.  So far, hoever, Bibi cannot bring other parties into coalition to form a government,

Former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party and United Torah Judaism, the party of the ultra-orthodox are split over conscription,  Lieberman demands that all Israelis serve in the army.   The rabbis insist that their kids be exempt as has been the case since Israeli was founded.

Netanyahu got elected by building a coalition of ultra right parties that see Israel as a dominant power with manifest destiny and the cheredim .. the ultra-orthodox who walk around this desert country dressed as if they were living in the shtetl.

These two groups do not in any way represent the Zionists who founded Israel.  The founders were largely atheists ore secular and conceived Israel as a socially conscious state built for Jews in a land they saw as not having its one n people. But,  now Netanyahu needs both groups.  Lieberman, an emigre from Russia, leads an extremely patriotic faction, often comprised of less than religious ex Russians.  Many of these folks are like Trump’s redhats .. fanatics abut Israeli exceptionalism.  These folks see themselves .. or at least their kids an Israeli SPARTA.  In their eyes, every Israeli must serve in khaki, no exceptions.

The other group wears the gabardine of the yeshiva students,  The ultra-orthodox refuse to serve in a military.  Their kids are, instead, in cheder .. Jewish schools and bring God’s infinite power to support the men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces.  By the way, note the word “women” here.  These cheder students are all men, they do not touch any women but their wives.  To them, the image of the Israeli army where men and women serve side by side is unimaginable.

In power for the past decade, Netanyahu only seemed to get the votes to form a new government by running in coalition with these right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.  He even proposed including Shas, an Israeli party with more than a passing relationship to the KKK.   Likhud, Netanyahu’s; party,  would align with the extreme nationalists and the extreme religious to form a government. …  ensure Bibi a fifth term following Israel’s April 9 election.

So now the bill governing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students has plunged the coalition talks into stalemate.  In the long term the Netanyahu coalition may be even worse.  Today’s Israel survives economically by its technological prowess. Yeshiva students do not contribute to that success but today majority of Israeli, kids are attending religious rather than public schools.

There is another issue that has not yet come to the fore.  Trump and Bibi seem to have been building a coalition of Israel, Saudi Arabi against Syria, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  This axis of local powers might get along with Lieberman but I find it unimaginable that the ultraorthodox Jews and the ultraorthodox Muslims would ever come together.

The image of Israeli soldiers fighting alongside angels sent by God seems a bit far fetched.

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Mark Adams #

    some might argue that some of the problem is the small size of Knesset.

    Still Isreal an all the parliamentary countries listed in the article are more Democratic than the US. Using the square root of a nations population as the number of representatives means the house should be a over 1000 members, and muh more than that if an old amendment setting the ratio of 40,000 to one representative were ever passed.

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