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Deja vu

The AJN will always stand by Israel and her people, who in October will vote in their fifth elections in three years.

Sensing the wind, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid this week dissolved the Knesset and in turn their short-lived governing coalition before the opposition could bring it down themselves.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu declared it “great news for millions of citizens”.

The government’s demise may be great news for Bibi and the religious right, but it is bad news for Israel.

Having only returned last year to some modicum of stability after a torrid period without a fully functioning government, Israel can ill-afford the cost of new elections or the mayhem that characterised the period between April 2019 and the formation of the government last year. And after being led by a truly representative – if flawed – coalition, Israel also cannot afford to have a government that includes the ultra-nationalists of Otzma Yehudit or Religious Zionism in its ranks.

Notwithstanding Netanyahu’s many positive achievements during his long premiership, the swearing-in of the coalition just one year ago brought hopes for fresh perspectives and a fresh start amid the former prime minister’s corruption trial and the negative influence of the ultra-nationalists he aided in getting elected to the Knesset. Now, polls show Israel could very well have a government tainted by both those things come October.

Internationally and in Australia, it would do no favours for Israel’s image, giving fuel to boycotters and delegitmisers. More troublingly, those who don’t have a firm position on Israel, nor a nuanced understanding, would get the wrong picture of what the Jewish State represents.

Incoming interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that Israel’s political system “is in need of serious change and major repairs”. That won’t happen before October.

In the Diaspora, we do not vote in Israeli elections. But alongside her citizens, we are invested in her future. We want Israel to continue to be a shining beacon of democracy and a force for good in the Middle East and the world.

We are grateful for the peaceful transition of power – an anomaly for the region – and hope that whoever governs Israel after October will have her best interests at heart.

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