Photo Credit: Flash90
Yair Lapid (L) and Naftali Bennett,

In many synagogues across the country this weekend, Naftali Bennett and his cohort were compared to Korah and his rebellion against Moses. Similar to the deplorable Korah, who was the focus of this week’s Torah portion, Bennett, too, split from the camp to crown himself over the people of Israel.

It seems more apt, however, to compare Bennett to the figure who will be mentioned in next week’s Haftorah – Yiftach Hagiladi. The biblical judge was born illegitimately, banished by his half-brothers due to his past, but was called on for help in their time of crisis. Ultimately, he swore an oath he could not uphold.

Very similarly, the Bennett-Lapid government was born into this world out of wedlock and broken promises to the voter. Hence it will start its journey – if it starts – with serious legitimacy problems.


Despite the past, Yiftach Hagiladi ultimately saved the people of Israel – and this is also the test now awaiting Bennett, Gideon Sa’ar, Ayelet Shaked and Ze’ev Elkin. In the coming weeks and months, they will have to justify their egregious decision to the public. They will have to convince us that the path they chose is indeed saving the country from its many problems.

Indeed, just as the elders who banished Yiftach erred, the elders of the nationalist camp made terrible mistakes that have led us to this day. Sadly, they are only admitting their mistakes now, after the Bennett-Lapid government is practically a foregone conclusion. Senior coalition partners – Aryeh Deri, Yaakov Litzman, Moshe Gafni, and Bezalel Smotrich – knew in real-time what was required of them to facilitate a nationalist government. Smotrich and the Haredim could have joined forces with Bennett and Lapid themselves, and by doing so blocked Avigdor Lieberman, Merav Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz.

They also could have asked Netanyahu to step aside and easily formed a nationalist government. But like rabbits hiding behind rocks, they feared future retribution from their constituencies and thus stood by Netanyahu. Of course, they had good reason for doing this, but they should have known more than anyone that politics and justice go together like oil and water. Now, they and the rest of the country are paying the price for these errors.

Needless to say, Netanyahu himself would have agreed to head a coalition with Lapid, Michaeli, Horowitz and Mansour Abbas had they been willing to sit with him in the same government. For this reason, too, it would behoove members of his circle to tone down their righteous indignation and shift from personal criticism to focusing on the issues.

Bennett is undeniably in the wrong, but Netanyahu and his partners are just as responsible for this situation. Hence, despite the dubious nature of this government, a fifth election would have been just as bad – and this new government should be given a chance and a grace period.

Perhaps this government won’t have the confidence of the public, and it’s doubtful anyone imagined this scenario when casting their ballot, but it is very likely, contrary to my own prediction, to receive the confidence of the Knesset on Sunday. And in our democracy, the Knesset’s approval is what matters.

{Reposted from the Israel Hayom website}


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Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.