Reviving an Israeli Classic: A Unity Government

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The new government at the presidential residence on Monday.

When the initial gaiety fades, and when the schadenfreude passes, we will soberly reflect upon what happened and discover that, all in all, we have returned to an Israeli classic: a “unity government.” Once again, the same double-sided, hybrid creature, where the right side does whatever it pleases, and the left side provides the public relations.

I don’t mean to imply the slightest hint of contempt for the importance of deposing Netanyahu, his family and his associates from power. When an unstoppable lunatic takes over a bus and wreaks havoc all around, one must first get the wheel out of their hands. Only then should we discuss where to go. Therefore, full respect and gratitude to the liberators of the steering wheel, even if the price is another unity government.

“Unity governments” have accompanied the State of Israel for decades. Their finest hour began before and after the 1967 war. Eshkol, Golda, Peres, Sharon, Shamir, Barak, and Netanyahu all relied here and there on various unity governments. Allegedly, such governments are meant to achieve two goals: maintain incumbency despite unsatisfactory election results, and maintain working relations despite bitter disagreements. Party A will balance Party B, the two sides will silence each other, and the government will run smoothly.

That’s not exactly what happened. Most unity governments adopted a slightly different character: The right side of the unity caught on quickly that it can do as it pleases and is assured that the non-right side will hasten to present its photogenic face, dignified appearance, and diplomatic manners to hide, beautify, excuse, and justify in the ears of the gentiles all the deeds of its partner. And since the non-right side is also quite right-wing in his heart of hearts, everyone was satisfied. A perfect arrangement was established: These act, and those explain.

Under the auspices of this convenient arrangement, the occupation, settlements, dispossession, apartheid, fascism, military dictatorship, shedding Palestinian blood and destroying the souls of tens of thousands of boys sent to the colonies as brutal overseers flourished, and keeps flourishing.

And so it shall be this time as well. Allegedly, a pragmatic government of diligent repairmen has been formed, which will deal with clearing the rubble Bibi left behind. But the right, what can you do, is not particularly endowed with restraint. It quickly gets overwhelmed by its passions. How long will Minister Ayelet Shaked, who heads the ministry of evil in every government in which she serves, hold back before returning to her efforts to castrate the judiciary, or abuse refugees and asylum seekers? And how long will it be before Bennett, Sa’ar and Elkin demand more money and more real estate and more indulgences for the settlement beast? And all the grandiose plans for religious affairs will be swiftly shelved.

And the other side, the pliable side of unity, will quickly return to fulfill its historical role: to justify, to hide, to sweep under the carpet, to “explain.”

Thus, none of the fundamental problems that threaten the existence and sanity of the state will even get a glance. The occupation, apartheid, religion and state, equality laws and human rights – all these won’t even be lightly raked. For nothing must disturb the unity’s slumber. This will not be the government that will redeem Israel and rescue it from the sure path towards destruction.

I hope to be proven wrong.