Israel Needs a Unity Government Now

Putting the pathetic election campaign and its rhetoric behind us, the Blue and White Party’s proclamations they will not join a Netanyahu government, if fulfilled, would be the worst disservice to the country.

So many election promises have been broken, but this one must be.

Without unity Israel will have another right-wing religious government. When the last government was formed, parties refusing to join warned that the national religious coalition would be unable to rule and doomed to fail. This has been proven wrong.

Netanyahu’s out-going cabinet allotted vast funds to religious institutions, were extremely harmful to Israel’s relations with American Jewry and increased inequality between secular society and the Orthodox community, by expanding exemptions from military service for Torah scholars. Society is fractured more under Netanyahu’s leadership, but worst of all is the road the country has embarked on leading to a one-state, bi-national future.

Most of these ills can be stopped. It is possible to decide, for example, that any construction in the settlements will be limited to the large blocs and not include isolated communities.

It is also possible to re-instate a sane stipend to Orthodox families in amounts similar to those Finance Minister Netanyahu signed on before he was prime minister. The ultra-Orthodox could serve in the military, their secular brethren do.

Past unity coalitions were formed with great efforts, in 1984, 2002 and 2013, and these cabinets could boast substantial achievements.

In 1984, the government tackled runaway inflation, bringing stability to the economy. In 2002, the unity government averted economic disaster with Netanyahu as its finance minister. This would not have been possible in a narrow coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties. In 2013, both left and right came together to agree on an outline for peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Left and center parties warn of doomsday scenarios that will surely come to pass if another right-wing and religious coalition is in power. They exaggerate in their dire predictions, but if only a small fraction of them come true, these parties should strive for a unity government.

What is more important? Keeping campaign promises or saving the country?

Though unity governments do not serve out their full terms, they still bring the country forward while they last.

The legend that narrow coalitions are more in tune with the will of the voter is false. Small factions exert pressure for their own gain and execute policies the majority in fact does not support.

National interest is far more important than chronic hostility and promises made on the campaign trail. So please grow up. A unity government is a must.

Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News.com



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