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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Opinion | Israel’s Coalition of Patriotic Traitors

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What Israelis need is a greater type of politics, the one space wherein Netanyahu conspicuously failed. It’s a politics freed of his habits of demagogy, vilification, sleaziness and sheer pettiness — a politics that in the end introduced him down.

That’s the promise of the brand new authorities. It’s led by Naftali Bennett, a right-winger and former director of the settlers’ council who’s the primary religiously observant Orthodox Jew to be prime minister. It’s anchored by Yair Lapid, a centrist and former TV journalist who epitomizes secular Israel. It received into energy because of the help of the Raam social gathering’s Mansour Abbas, a religiously conservative Muslim who has implicitly given a stamp of endorsement to a authorities whose insurance policies — particularly towards Palestinians — he absolutely opposes. It contains members who’re to the correct of Likud and to the left of Labor.

It’s troublesome to consider any coalition authorities, in any nation, that’s as ideologically various. It’s additionally simple to suppose that nothing holds it collectively past shared loathing of Netanyahu, who stays chief of the opposition. It wouldn’t take a lot to deliver the brand new authorities down and return him to energy.

However there’s additionally a possibility within the new authorities, and it holds classes for different Western democracies gripped by partisanship and paralysis. Practically all members of the brand new coalition needed to sacrifice some extent of political or ethical precept, break ranks with a few of their very own constituents and get branded as traitors to their respective actions as a way to make this coalition attainable. They’re ideological turncoats, not less than to those that consider ideological purity as a advantage.

Being prepared to desert a ferocious conviction for the sake of a realistic compromise was thought of a advantage in democracy. Ideological treason can be a type of civic patriotism. In what’s alleged to be one of many free world’s most factionalized, tribalized, internally divided international locations — Jews, Arabs, secular, national-religious, ultra-Orthodox, Mizrahi, Russian, Druze and so forth — an Israeli authorities is giving civic nationalism a go.

It might or could not work. However like a lot else in Israel, it deserves extra respect than it’s more likely to get.

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