The Guardian view on Israel’s new coalition: not yet a new era

From The Guardian:

There were 38 minutes left when eight very disparate Israeli opposition parties announced, just before midnight on Wednesday, that they could form a government to eject Benjamin Netanyahu from the prime ministership he has held for 12 bitter years. This last-minute outcome underscores two things. First, it says the eight-party grouping, which ranges from the leftwing Meretz to the small and ultra-nationalist Yamina of the prospective prime minister Naftali Bennett, and which will be supported by the Arab Islamist Ra’am party, is an exceptionally fragile coalition even by modern Israeli standards. Second, it shows that, in spite of Israel’s successful Covid campaign and the heightened national feeling arising from its recent conflict with Hamas, a very wide range of political groups from very different traditions nevertheless believe they have an overriding shared interest in ousting the country’s longest-serving and still ruthless leader.

This is not surprising. Mr Netanyahu may have dominated Israeli politics for a generation. But his militant divisiveness at home and abroad, and his stridently anti-Palestinian policies, have taken the country into a political blind alley. The defeat of Donald Trump has left Mr Netanyahu without his strongest international backer. He is also currently on trial for corruption, facing bribery and fraud charges arising out of three different cases of trading political favours for cash. Each of the last four general elections has ended in stalemate or something very close, most recently in March 2021. If the country was not to waste another few months under yet another unsuccessful Netanyahu regime, there had to be some sort of break. The March election has provided that opportunity – just.

More here.