MATTI FRIEDMAN: ‘Israel is a society in crisis, and its politics are broken’

The bond that held the country together has been shattered, the break with the past symbolised by Netanyahu’s decision to put an ideological criminal, Ben-Gvir, in charge of law enforcement.

Eight thoughts on Israel’s political crisis

No. 1: Israel is a society in crisis, and its politics are broken. The last years of repeated elections and political chaos, followed by the constitution of Benjamin Netanyahu’s radical new government, demonstrate that the political system is unable to offer a way for citizens to make progress together, or any kind of unifying vision that makes sense to a majority of people here. 

The feeling in the country at the moment, and not just on the centre and Left, is that the political system has finally managed to shatter something important in the bond that has always somehow held the country’s parts together, paying (most of our) taxes and (mostly) serving in the army, despite policies that we might have seen as too right wing or too left wing or just ill-considered.

No. 2: The most important sign of a real break with the past is the decision by incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to appoint an ideological criminal as the minister in charge of law enforcement. Netanyahu’s reputation in the Israeli mainstream always rested on the understanding that he’s ultimately careful and adept in matters of security. Itamar Ben-Gvir is a racist provocateur from the margins of the right who was recently beyond the pale even among Likud voters.

MATTI FRIEDMAN: Eight thoughts on Israel’s political crisis (Tablet)

DAVID GROSSMAN: For Israel, there is no way back from Netanyahu’s chaos (Haaretz)
Under the guise of democracy, Netanyahu is warping the character of Israel itself, sowing the seeds of anarchic chaos, hatred and violence which cannot be tamed

Photo: Leaders of Israel’s political parties pose for a group photo after the swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, last month (Tsafrir Abayov /AP)