After four elections filled with slander, incitement, twisting of the law and the violation of civil rights, a government has been formed.
Its seams are basted together roughly and could split at any moment. The fundamental disagreements among its members threaten to erupt, defectors could keep it from being sworn in, and even if it is sworn in, insurmountable challenges lie in wait along its path, each one a roadside bomb with the power to destroy it.
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This isn’t the dream government of Israeli voters, neither from the left nor the right. But it reflects a broad desire to end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reign of evil and corruption. That is a national mission that is more important than any ideology or vision, because in the Netanyahu era Israel reached the verge of losing the ability to change the government, and almost joined the list of dictatorial regimes that masquerade as democracies.
The political movements and their leaders that came together and rose above egotistical considerations deserve high praise for seeing the danger and taking a stand against it.
This is a national emergency government, which, if it is successful, could return politics and public discourse in Israel to the path of reason and levelheadedness. It will not erase or conceal the ideological differences, but it will make it possible for them to exist in a space that is cleaner, in which political rivals can operate without being labeled enemies or traitors.
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This is a government whose very formation has shattered the toxic walls of separation that pushed Israel’s Arabs beyond the state’s political fence and prohibited all contact, much less cooperation, between left and right. These foundations, which are self-evident in any enlightened democracy, turned under Netanyahu’s rule into flammable material that consumed Israeli society until it ceased to recognize and to believe in any other reality.
The members of the new government and its leaders did not betray their voters and did not sell out their values. They expanded the canvas and the arena in which these values can be represented and influential. For this they are deserving of every public support. It is vital for this government to succeed, because there is no alternative to it. This is the grave responsibility that has been entrusted to each of its members, individually and collectively.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.