Leaning to the Left
What a day yesterday turned out to be – and only a couple of weeks after yet another war with our neighbours.
First of all, the strange sight of a PM with possibly only hours left in power, officially welcoming Israel’s new President. And it was Itzhak Herzog. First, a man from the traditional Left Labour Party. Second, the son of former President, Chaim, and the grandson of Israel’s first chief rabbi (who had also been chief rabbi of Ireland).
And Third, a man with no known enemies. In Israel!! (Miriam Peretz, the other Presidential candidate, is also very special person. A public speaker and winner of the Israel prize for her work; mother of 4 boys, 2 of whom died in ‘the wars’).
And yesterday evening, apparently 35 minutes before the midnight deadline, Yair Lapid announced to the very new President the formation of a new coalition government. It is made up of 8 parties from right to left. It includes some religious, but NOT ultra, and it includes an Arab party! Mansour Abbas has joined the coalition, despite not receiving nor even demanding a Ministry.
He is promised and assured that, in government, he will see a dramatic change to the support for the Arab communities in Israel, including better services and better policing. (They suffer badly from local and internal violence).
Bibi Netanyahu? No, we have not heard the last of him. Sara will not let him leave quietly. This man, who really can list quite a few positive achievements for the country, who will have many visits to the Law Courts over the next 2-3 years, has not yet written his last pages…
And, something NONE of you have read about – the Global Investment Forum, which took place in Dubai, organised by the 2 English-language newspapers, the Jerusalem Post and the Khaleej Times, and attended by a multitude of speakers from the region, all leaders in the various fields: politics, economy, investment, innovation, energy and so on.
In my opinion, the forum is as important as the other events, in that it shows that the support for co-operation between the moderate Arab states and Israel was not damaged by the war with Hamas.
The emerging alliance between the moderate and ‘nouveau-riche’ states in the region against the powerful extremists in Iran and Turkey will create a new problem, a form of not very Cold War, but the people in Gaza may wake up to the fact that they are being more than sidelined. They will be left behind, forgotten. They will see not only their Arab but also their Palestinian brothers ‘moving on’.
For me, this is the best hope for neighbourhood peace we have had in a while. It is realistic. Obstacles? Thousands… But that’s always been the case in this region.
Will the coalition weather the many storms? 50/50 at best. Yair Lapid, our neighbour, is the ‘leader’ of the coalition, but the chances that the coalition will last until it is his turn to be PM after Bennett are…50/50.
What is certain, is that Itzhak Herzog, Isaac to some of you, will be President for 7 years.
Let’s use this opportunity to celebrate yesterday, June 2nd.