Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

If you look at the home page of one of Israel’s financial daily’s “Globes“, life appears pretty upbeat in the Holy Land. Millions and billions are being raised in mergers and acquisitions. Official unemployment stats are back down at the 5% level , and dropping. The economy has survived another two-week fight with Gaza.

So where is the proverbial “but”?

There is still no room for a national inquiry into the incident on Mount Meron, where 45 people were trampled to death. No thought of investigating the police as to why they let criminal elements stir up racial fights in mixed communities during the Gaza war. Everyone seems to have forgotten the initial mismanagement of the corona crisis last year. And the fact that Israel has not had a formal national budget for three years, the core to defining the future of society, just seems to be of secondary concern for those at the top.

The reason for all of this is that the senior politicians of the country are all tied up, trying to find a way to form a government, and this after 4 general elections in 24 months.

Israel is not currently divided politically along leftist and rightist lines, nor is it split on the issues of West Bank annexation or future Palestinian statehood. The rift is not even over the independence of the judiciary or inequality in the Israeli social structure.

Ben-Dror Yemini|

This opinion, published by a top local commentator on YNET, a leading news website, summarises the problem. Israel is divided by a battle that does not resolve around the future direction of the country, but the future political freedom of one man; Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu.

The level of political debate over the past decade has grown increasingly toxic. The Prime Minister is in court, facing three serious charges. The leaders of the two parties of his coalition have been indicted. As described above, the country has ceased to operate beyond the immediate. To put it another way, the economic successes, that comeback from a corona economy, has resulted despite the government rather than because of its lead.

Can the proposed anti-Bibi ad-hoc ‘change’ group of political parties, that is coming together for a greater good, succeed? It is co-led by Naphtali Bennett, often described by the international press as far-right wing. That title reveals more about some of the media’s detest of Israel rather than an attempt at decent journalism. For the record, Bibi’s allies call him left-wing, along with anything else that needs to be minimalised.

To give you one indication of the complexities of the problem, I remind you that this group will barely have a majority in the Kenesset, if it is to be sworn by Wednesday next week. It will depend on the Arab party, Ra’am. A key demand of the socially conservative Ra’am is no new legislation that benefits the gay community. This is in direct contradiction to the Yesh Atid party of Ya’ir Lapid, the largest party in the group. In fact – are you waiting for this – on this issue, Ra’am has the backing of those two coalition partners of Bibi, whose leaders are facing criminal charges.

There are plenty more sub-context stories like that – not including the election tomorrow in the Kenesset for the next President. Recent history and current rumours indicate that yet again this will not be decided along party lines. In that case, Bibi’s supposed preferred candidate, if he has one, is not likely to win.

Stupid, Awful. Rediculous. Disheartening. Wasteful. Overall – outrageous and pathetic.

And that is why something must change! The top has led us there. They have had 4 attempts to win over voters at the polls, and failed each time. Enough is enough. Hopefully, by next week, this farce will be over, with an alternative set of faces in power.

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