Elections in Israel

Reading about Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s dismissal of two of his government ministers left me very frustrated. When I was growing up there were quite a number of government dissolution (or times when the majority party was unable to form a coalition). However, I do not remember it happening at the prime minister’s behest. I understand that the Prime Minister is frustrated because Knesset officials Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid have criticized a number of his policies, most recently his legislation to define Israel as strictly a Jewish country. However, to accuse them of trying a coup d’etat makes no sense to me. Israel is always a country where Knesset members vocally disagree with one another, even those who are members of the governing coalition. To dismiss those who disagree with you and call new elections 2 years early is in my opinion causing a disservice to Israelis and increasing the feelings of instability at a time when Israel is vulnerable. Perhaps the Prime Minister thinks that new elections will lead to more votes among right wing parties, but I am not so certain that will be the case.

It is also interesting that Netanyahu’s calling for new elections comes at the same time that Labor MK Merav Michaeli presented a bill limiting the Prime Minister to 2 consecutive terms. Bibi is in his third term as Prime Minister so if the bill were to pass he would be out of office. It will be interesting to see what happens with her bill, amidst the call for new elections.

I also want to note that the new elections in Israel come about at a time of gridlock in the United States Congress and an impending government shutdown next week (the second in two years) if issues do not get resolved. I would hope that our politicians would have the common sense to know before whom they are standing (the voters who elected them) and do whatever they can to avoid a shutdown.

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