Following the fourth consecutive snap elections, a new cabinet has begun to be formed in Israel, without the Likud party and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the long-term, or rather, decades-old political executive. It was back in the mid-1990s that he had taken the helm for the first time.
And once again the government of Israel will be a coalition one, once again it will be unstable, and once again it will be short-lived. As one Israeli columnist put it, "a hotchpotch of those advocating essentially different worldviews, cultures, doctrines, and views." And he added: "It's amazing how different the ends are that encounter for the sake of the annoying Netanyahu's resignation." Therefore, Netanyahu, as he believes, has a chance to return via "regular-extraordinary" elections. As an experienced politician, he has hardly lost hope of still being "oh wow powerful", and soon the fifth snap election will take place over "the current government coalition's inefficiency". And then, he will definitely regain power...
That's the way things shape up as of today. Let's look a little deeper into the history of the Arab Spring, which, in our bedrock belief, has now reached the territory of Israel as well. A decade has passed since this chaos broke out in the Middle East, having devastated several countries of the region at once.
During the Middle Eastern countries' collapse that started in 2011 and was eloquently dubbed the Arab Spring (in the recent weeks, we have written here a lot about the devastating consequences of this "beautiful picture" to quite a number of Arab states), one repeatedly wondered why and how did Palestine and Israel avoid the carnage?
An "island of stability" remained here, at the very heart of tragic events, for a decade, among all the things simmering and falling apart in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen.
The matter was that Arab Spring planners and masterminds were sitting in the West, and they could not disturb Israel by default. But now the "concept has changed", and chaotization comes at a price, regardless of whether the victims want it or are privy to the externally devised "plan". So Israel, following a decade of more or less peaceful life and coexistence with the Palestinians, has inexplicably settled for an aggravation. Do you remember Henry Kissinger predicting an end to the state of Israel? That rings a bell...
And now something has turned out badly to Netanyahu himself, who is supposed to be aware of his weakness (his party cannot win the Knesset elections win by fall, as it did before) and allowed an aggravation with the Palestinians in order to preserve his own power. Zhvanetsky once joked that a big trouble was needed to unite the fragmenting society of Israel. Its peaceful, quiet, and comfortable life was brought about by the following: the Arabs got drawn into the Arab Spring, Syria found itself on the verge of collapse, and the key enemy as represented by Gaddafi was destroyed. In general, things became somehow safe for the Israelis.
And this played a dirty trick on Netanyahu. With peaceful borders, he started provoking instability, realizing that the only way to maintain power and remain the country's political leader is "emergency" conditions. Even quite a successful narrative concerning vaccination from COVID-19 did not yield the necessary "whists". In sharp contrast, people took to the streets protesting against Netanyahu over quarantine and lockdown measures.
In general, Netanyahu fell through and therefore attempted to "unite the nation", which had lightened up for the first time in decades, for the sake of his own political interests. Last year, Netanyahu threatened to annex the West Bank for new Israeli settlements, and recently he ordered a forcible expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Those people aren't angels either, by the way, with legal issues existing as regards their housing rights. But evicting Muslims from their homes at the very height of Ramadan is a provocation! And Netanyahu kept making waves, bombed the Gaza Strip in response to the shelling of his country's territory that was declared a retaliation for East Jerusalem. Netanyahu shouldn't have deliberately struck those delicate cords at a delicate hour – at the end of Ramadan... He has made aggravation his policy. And so what?.. Who pushed him to do this? His personal ambitions, or someone from abroad?
Now the Middle East is agitated again by events in Israel itself. And only the United States' adamant stance, with Biden, who now controls not the entire foreign policy realm, having told Netanyahu to cease the provocation, which eventually saved the region from another Arab-Israeli war.
By the way, this 11-day engagement between Israel and the Gaza Strip witnessed not only the underperformance of Israeli Iron Dome missile defense systems against Palestinian missiles, which is one down to the prime minister in political terms, but also a marked aggravation between the Jewish and Arab-Palestinian diasporas in Israel itself. People won't forgive Netanyahu for this.
Fear is a good teacher indeed, and Israeli social media wrote the following in pure Russian these days: "Friends call from different cities of Israel, and, on a standalone basis, they are primarily horrified not by sirens and missile attacks, but by the mass betrayal of their neighbors, the Israeli Arabs... In Haifa, the traditional "friendship centre for the Arabs and the Jews", it came to a point where local "people's avengers" with Israeli passports were prowling around and asking the Arab brothers to show where the Jewish apartments were located... In Lod, the Jews, having made sure they could no longer hold out hope for their native Jewish state, arranged self-defense detachments these days. Not bad, right? It resembles the Exodus, but topsy-turvy!"
As a result of government policy, Israel is suffering not only from mutual rocket attacks with the neighboring Palestinian territory. Bloggers cover numerous "wrangles" between citizens of their country, divided along ethnic lines.
As good an Arab Spring reincarnation on the Israeli soil as any. This "spring" is distinguished by not leading to revival, but entailing a chaotization of states, despite its "nice" name. And now chaotization is sweeping Israel, as ordinary people on the scene report.
After the fourth snap parliamentary elections, a "moderate government" is said to be ruling there. That implies a coalition government comprising remarkably different political forces: from moderate right-wingers to moderate left-wingers. All of them want Netanyahu to leave. And his Likud party is now suffering a severe political defeat – everyone around has come down on its leader, the "multi-decade" prime minister... Perhaps, the recent elections did become the so-called "protest vote" ("sanction des urnes", as the French put it), under the "Fed up with Netanyahu" slogan.
On the other hand, Netanyahu's supporters seem to have given him most votes in the course of elections, but this "majority" of Knesset seats proved insufficient to form a government. Knesset now looks as a batch of small factions. As a result, the Israeli opposition has for the first time in years formed a government without Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters.
As arranged between leaders of the emerging Israeli government, in anticipation of the next election (but not an extraordinary one, as the united opposition is thus closing off possibilities of Netanyahu's return), leader of the right-wing Yamina party Naftali Bennett should be the first to assume the mantle of prime minister. Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, which is part of the ruling coalition, will take office for the next two years. Note that this party has ensured the second largest faction in the Knesset to become "heavyweights" in the present-day political framework, making it legal for them to claim their share of power.
Yolanda Nell, BBC's Middle East correspondent, commented on the situation the following way: "Once there is a new coalition government in Israel without Netanyahu, its composition will be prodigious – the union will include parties that are poles apart in the political spectrum... The prime minister is being investigated for corruption, and his rivals say Netanyahu is more interested in retaining power to avoid criminal prosecution than in the country's future."
Another British BBC analyst, Sebastian Usher, believes that "Netanyahu should not be underestimated." And according to the most recent reports from Israel, "Netanyahu is trying to thwart the established coalition of right-wing and left-wing parties willing to form a new government and put an end to his 12-year premiership."
What finer feelings. Democracy, for Christ's sake!... We'll see how it goes.
The whole thing began with the Arab Spring, which has now inadvertently come to Israel, and its distinctive feature is chaos and destabilization of the region. Some forces are still trying to blow up the Middle East on many sides. And Israel's new military confrontation with Palestine and its allies is on the roadmap.
Is the Israeli internal strife a path to "stabilization" or "chaotization" of the Middle East? As for the Arab spring, all of its occurrences started with rocking the domestic situation's boat.