The hope that the recent Israeli elections would lead to political change and a new dawn for a viable peace process with the Palestinians, feels as a very distant dream 8 weeks later. Following last week’s announcement of a new Israeli coalition government, the country woke up to an ultranationalist, clerical, nightmare-like reality. It is surely not the government most Israelis longed for. It is not even the coalition Prime Minister Netanyahu envisaged when his Likud party performed better than expected in the elections. This is Netanyahu’s last-resort government, composed of the parties that agreed to participate, after his preferred partners the Zionist Union and Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu (Israel our Home) rebuffed his advances. What is left is a coalition enjoying the narrowest of majorities, 61 out of 120 Members of Knesset, with a grievous agenda, which seems to embark on a destructive journey. Such a journey among other dangers, would most likely badly wound Israeli democracy, bury any flicker of hope for peace with the Palestinians, and in the process, leave the country internationally isolated.
The result is a parochial, sectarian government that serves mainly vested interests with no broader constructive strategic visionYossi Mekelberg