Opinion |

Israel Needs a Permanent Transitional Government

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Benjamin Netanyahu, flanked by senior Likud members, gestures during the swearing in of Israel's Knesset, October 3, 2019.
Benjamin Netanyahu, flanked by senior Likud members, gestures during the swearing in of Israel's Knesset, October 3, 2019.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Sometimes, we have no choice but to rush to the rescue of the groaning homeland. Evidently, it isn’t capable of saving itself.

Therefore, the beginning of wisdom is to improve the warped image of “transitional governments” a bit. Ostensibly, these are governments whose terms should be kept as short as possible. They have little power, little support and limited capabilities and authority.

But in fact, a sober, unprejudiced view would reveal that transitional governments are the diametric opposite of this image. That is to say, they indeed have limited power, capabilities, support, jurisdiction and authority, but that’s precisely their beauty. This is the kind of government any sensible doctor would prescribe for a country in which the people holding the reins of power and controlling state institutions have abandoned all restraint and all morality – a torn, divided, confused, tired country.

Because such a government is in effect partially incapacitated, nothing could be more appropriate for a country that has lost its sanity. Its weaknesses have become its strengths.

Under a transitional government, it will be hard for the country to go to war (it has no public support, and hearings on the petitions that will be filed in the will drag on until the war has become pointless). It won’t be able to pass stupid, wicked laws (there’s no herd-mentality coalition that will approve any abomination). It won’t be able to appoint moles and cronies to public positions, who will then remain there for years (it’s illegal). It also won’t be able to appoint more judges from among the community of hilltop-youth jurists and their abettors (that’s also illegal). And it won’t be able to waste money like a drunken gambler (there’s no approved budget).

In short, it’s the perfect government. It’s permitted to deal only with day-to-day issues, so its ability to do damage is very limited. That’s exactly what Israel needs right now.

Nevertheless, one problem remains: In the current situation, the person who is stuck in the Prime Minister’s Office is . There will be no chance of any recovery, even a partial one, until this horrible man has been booted out of office.

Fortunately, this too has a feasible and attractive solution. It was dreamed up by journalist Gideon Eshet in his informative blog. And here it is: The task of forming the government will chairman Benny Gantz. So all he has to do is reach an agreement with everyone who loathes Bibi, from all the different parties, on the following terms: Gantz will form a minority government comprised of 44 Knesset members (Kahol Lavan, Democratic Union and Labor), with another 21 MKs supporting it from outside (the Joint List and Yisrael Beiteinu).

So far, there’s nothing new here. But now we come to the innovation: The agreement will also state that a few days after this government is sworn in, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh and/or Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman will submit a no-confidence motion. The government, of course, will collapse like a house of cards, and will thereby become a transitional government. But this time, it will be headed by Gantz rather than Bibi.

A transitional government headed by Gantz could keep the country afloat for a long time. It will be armed with refreshing sanity, limited by restrictions that ensure it won’t engage in too much foolishness and liberated from the oppressive yoke of fundamentalist and nationalist parties. This is a government that could survive another 10 elections with no clear winner.

And what about the ousted Bibi? He will become just another rank-and-file MK, one of several who will be sitting on the sidelines chewing their nails as they await their indictments. Just like Arye Dery, Yaakov Litzman, David Bitan and who knows who else. He will be forced to cease his work of destruction, disqualified from serving in any government.

And aside from all the benefits listed above, Bibi and his violent gang will also learn that when you play constitutional juggling tricks, the other side can also play aggressively.