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JV Editorial

The Israeli Elections “Mess” & Trump’s Peace Plan

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President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at U.N. headquarters in New York City on Sept. 26, 2018. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO

The outspoken but always right to the point, President Trump weighed in on the new proposed Israeli elections with these words: “Israel is all messed up with their election. Bibi got elected. Now all of a sudden they have to go through the process all over again. That’s ridiculous. They have to get their act together.” We agree. And so does Reuven Y. Hazan, a politics professor at Hebrew University. “This is new for Israel. We’ve never tried to form a government and bring down a new parliament at the same time.” So what’s this all about? Netanyahu was re-elected as Israel’s Prime Minister in April, not with a simple American-like two party system but with about 20 angry, battling political parties weighing in and the results were that 14 of them are represented in its Knesset (Congress) that with 120 members governs the nation.

And they all have to get along. Give us a break! Confusion reigns as Bibi tries to put together a coalition government that has to make decisions. He has to deal with and form by law a coalition government that might include Muslim Arabs, Jewish orthodox and Communists. Under Israeli law, if Netanyahu can’t form a government, its president, Reuven Rivlin must appoint another candidate to do so. But Bibi’s Likud Party has presented a bill to dissolve the Knesset, and the PM gave the go-ahead for the Knesset to dissolve itself forcing new elections which will take place on September 17th.

These new elections will surely delay both the White House’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan. This has irritated Trump whose emissaries, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his senior advisor and son-in-law,Jared Kushner, together with negotiator, Jason Greenblatt toured the Middle East last week to build support for peace in the region. But they can’t do it without the firm, solid support of Israel. And the Israelis need a leader that can count on the backing of Knesset. At this point, the Israelis are all screwed up politically. We, the United States, cannot continue to wait for the Israelis to “get off the pot,” to finally mature politically and to transform their government into a working one with fewer opposing political parties. We, American citizens, weep and wail every two years about foolish electioneering, debates and candidate posturing but when we look at the Israelis and their circus, we should be happy to go to the polls knowing that the candidates we elect will serve out fully, their terms without fear of having to run every few months as in Israel.

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