Israeli Politics and the Coronavirus

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It is most amazing to note that Israel is in the midst of its third political stalemate after inconclusive elections.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, is already talking about another election!  At the same time, Israel has embraced the most severe restrictions of any country to try to manage the threat of the virus.  The planes are not flying, and the schools will now be closed. Closing the schools will be a terrible trial for working parents!  There are to be no meetings of over 100 people.  The hotels are mostly empty. Israel’s tourism industry is suspended.  The economic consequences are terrible.  All this is happening at the same time as the United States is holding its presidential primaries.  History may note them as the virus primaries. The United States itself is embracing greater and greater restrictions.  Even the National Basketball League has suspended games!!

What is God up to in allowing this terrible situation worldwide? Could revival follow?  Some are praying for this.

It seems amazing that in the midst of such a plague that Israel is in political limbo.  We really need to see our helplessness and our need for God, for we cannot even form a government.  It is not only that the vote failed to put either the Likud or the Blue and White, the two largest parties over the top.  A government could be formed but for the rigid positions taken by some politicians, an amazing stubbornness.  My two favorite Israeli English language newspapers, the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel are in agreement, and I agree with them. Just where are the points of stubbornness?

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) bears responsibility by insisting on remaining the head of his party though under indictment.  The trial procedures begin on March 17th.  There are several things that could be negotiated.  Blue and White would be in a unity government with Likud if not led by Bibi due to the indictment.  They say they will not be in a government led by him due to the indictment. Several solutions could be found.  Likud could choose a new leader and even say that after his trial, if found innocent, Bibi could return to leadership through a new party vote.  Likud could commit to this.
  2. Benjamin Netanyahu insists that all his right-wing partners be included in any government.  This is a non-starter.  This right wing includes the Ultra-Orthodox who have a stranglehold over the government.  I have written many times on how their welfare state within the state is bleeding the government.  They also say that they will not be in a government with Blue and White.  My view on this?  Good.  Let there be a unity government without them.  This would be very helpful.
  3. There are two Blue and White Party members and one Labor-Gesher member who will not allow a government to form through the votes of the Joint List Arab party because the Arabs are not Zionists but want a bi-national state.  This seems really foolish on the part of these three members, since after the vote, Bibi will be gone and there could be a unity government. At any rate, the Joint List will not be part of the government but only give the vote to end Bibi’s reign.  All they are asking is parity in government services spending.  Indeed, this coalition could pass a law that a person under indictment could not serve. 
  4. Blue and White could change their position and accept Bibi in a rotation for Prime Minister with Benny Gantz due to the very bad situation of not being able to form a government and to avoid a fourth election.  It seems dire enough to defend such a change.  They could promise pardon to him for allowing General Gantz of Blue and White to lead the government in the first rotation.  Bibi can lead again if found innocent.  For this to happen, Bibi has to let the Ultra-Orthodox go.  Shas cannot control the interior department.  There has to be a cut in welfare for men to study Talmud and Rabbinic arguments all day! 
  5. The Joint List, including Balad, the more anti-Israel faction, could vote to form the government with Blue and White and accept that only some of their demand can be met since the budget will cannot immediately provide all their demands.  The government can take significant steps. How about a cut in Ultra-Orthodox welfare to finance classrooms, roads, police and hospitals in the Arab areas!  Balad refuses to support a government and has an all or nothing stand.    

There are many possible solutions, but so many are being stubborn.  It is amazing!  And some speak of a fourth election which again would likely be inconsequential. Can Bibi stay in power by having elections forever?    

Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil not only in politically but with the virus.  What a time for us to pray, exercise faith, heal the sick and share the Good News!  What a great time for the Spirit to be poured out.

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