Nearing Israeli elections mustn't prompt political grabs
The decision to keep the election campaign as short as possible is a welcome one. But it is to be hoped that until the new government is elected, the outgoing coalition will not make any rash decisions on the diplomatic or security front or take any populist social and economic steps.
The scheduling of an early election at the end of the summer, as per the bill submitted by Likud to the Knesset Wednesday, is expected to shorten the term of one of the worst governments the country has ever had, if not the worst.
The right-wing coalition headed by Likud in cooperation with Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Atzmaut and Habayit Hayehudi has led the peace process with the Palestinians to a new nadir and has distanced the two-state solution - the only solution that can ensure Israel's Jewish and democratic character.
Even the dramatic changes generated by the Arab Spring in the Middle East did not spur Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to exchange his fearmongering and isolationist policies for diplomatic initiative.
Netanyahu managed to bring the issue of the Iranian nuclear program to the top of the international agenda, contributing to pressure on Tehran. But foot-dragging in negotiations over a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, together with the government's falling over itself to aid the settlers on every hill in the West Bank, has led to Israel's isolation and the erosion of faith in its aspiration for true peace.
Nationalist and religious values have shunted aside the values of democracy and peace on Netanyahu's watch. The welfare of settlers and the ultra-Orthodox are higher priorities for this government than meeting the just needs of young couples and the middle class, who bear the brunt of the country's economic and security burden.
Early elections offer the public an opportunity to replace this right-wing government with a responsible one that will not make do with survival while perpetuating a binational reality and increasing both the danger of another round of violence with the Palestinians and international isolation.
The never-ending courtship of the settlers and their supporters, and the race to draft the ultra-Orthodox give rise to the suspicion that in the coming months the public will see a series of vote-currying political grabs. The decision to keep the election campaign as short as possible is a welcome one. But it is to be hoped that until the new government is elected, the outgoing coalition will not make any rash decisions on the diplomatic or security front or take any populist social and economic steps.