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Plots, Schemes And Coalitions

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As 94 Knesset members sit on one side of an aisle, middle Israel sits in opposition, not because they hate this unity coalition but because they have come to hate all coalitions. No matter the size or shape, coalitions in the mind of the Israeli voter are another tool for the incessant plotting and scheming of the same recycled power-hording party apparatchiks. Israelis want responsible governing; the rub is that this can only occur once the people first govern themselves.

Rav Yosef Horwitz said of this all-too-human contradiction, “Man wants to achieve greatness overnight, and he wants to sleep well that night too.” Israelis want their politicians to unite and exert themselves for the greater good, but this will first require that Israeli citizens practice what they preach.

This means demanding reform in the face of inaction. It means taking up the mantle of personal responsibility and civic pride, and engaging in grassroots contributive activism. Only then will Israel’s politicians follow suit and embrace higher political virtues that can mold unity governments formed out of convenience into grand coalitions guided by the duty to serve the public interest.

Ariel Harkham is co-founder of the Jewish National Initiative (www.jni.co.il).

About the Author: The author is co-founder of the Jewish National Initiative (www.jni.co.il).


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Last month we saw something historic in Israeli politics – the largest unity government ever formed. Unlike most unity governments, this one was born neither from a sense of national emergency nor from an era of national euphoria, where political differences fade. Instead, this coalition was induced by the threat of the ballot box and is a result of Israeli politicians’ strategic dedication to either keeping their seats or scoring the slot above them in the next coalition jig.

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For many, the “surprise” which greeted Israelis on May 8th was yet another political dance in which the citizen is a spectator left to watch, wonder, and wait for another year and half to be heard from again. This scenario begs the question: when it comes to the state of Israel’s representative governance, is the tail wagging the dog? Put simply, is Israeli citizenry merely an accessory to the political decision-making of the day?

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