Politics can be a well-orchestrated opera
What if our elected officials finally acted in Israel’s best interests? Is it possible that the theatrics we witnessed is just that — theatrics? As the new government arrangements came to light, after Benny Gantz stepped off the Speaker’s podium, as Lapid was ranting and raving, I was suddenly struck by a thought that changed my whole impression of what was transpiring.
What if everything we saw yesterday evening was a grand opera in which almost everyone was playing a part in a script they put together for all our sakes? For the sake of our democracy?
Israel now has the national unity government most of us have been begging for since well before the third time we went to the polls in under a year. Seventy-eight MKs (or nine, if Orly Levi-Abacassis joins in) make for a stable government. Let us hope this stability is less illusory than Gantz’s Blue&White seemed to have been.
Israel remains under the experienced directorship of Benjamin Netanyahu while confronting the Coronavirus emergency. Much as he may have wanted to, it is questionable whether or not newby politician Benjamin Gantz would have been able to lead us through this swamp as ably. While this may in some ways resemble a military operation, it is not. And, in any case, Gantz was not the final authority during military operations — Bibi was. We can only hope that Gantz learns how to function in a political world alongside his nemesis and that Bibi actually upholds his promise to rotate in 18 months.
And here is the most crucial part: the leader of the opposition is Yair Lapid and not Ayman Odeh.
What if the new government constellation was arranged in order to achieve that outcome? After all, it was always clear that the majority of the electorate did not want the anti-Zionist Joint List to head the Knesset opposition. The wisdom of allowing that to happen was questionable at best given that most Joint List MKs (even if not the bulk of those who voted for them) support terrorists who act against the Jewish state and all support the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state.
The head of the opposition, by law, is privy to security secrets. It seems that Blue&White, whose most central election promise was taking down Netanyahu, may have been unable, in the end, to countenance Odeh having such security clearance. After all, former MK Azmi Bashara fled the country after having been accused of spying for Hizbullah and, most recently, an Israeli Arab woman was arrested on suspicion of spying for Hamas under cover of her volunteer work. The timing of her arrest (February 17) and the handing down of her indictment (March 18) was an auspicious warning for those flirting with the idea of making any kind of deal with the Joint List, especially since some of its MKs reportedly attended demonstrations supporting her.
Therefore, perhaps Lapid is feigning fury at Gantz in order to protect the integrity of Blue&White. Perhaps protecting the integrity of Blue&White is also behind Gantz’s speech yesterday. His speech contained thinly veiled scorn of the party with whom he had just signed a contract and open derision of Yuli Edelstein whose resignation gave them the time they needed in order to finalize the contract and let the ink dry.
As they worked furiously to design the best way to save Israel from the Coronavirus and from our own paralysis, did our elected representatives learn anything? Did they learn the dangers of Israel not having a constitution? Did they learn the dangers of not clearly standing up for the right to disqualify candidates running for office who threaten the country from within? Or did they just learn masterful orchestration of a politically motivated opera that they may apply next time for less exalted purposes?
Feature Image Credit: Screenshot from Benny Gantz’s Facebook page.