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George Birnbaum is a world political marketing consultant and was most just lately the chief strategist and pollster for Naftali Bennett, the chief of Israel’s New Proper get together.
JERUSALEM — A brand new daybreak has seemingly damaged in Israeli politics. After 12 years as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s days are numbered, and his authorities seems set to get replaced by a coalition made up of eight opposition events. The members of this unlikely alliance span the ideological spectrum — from the left-wing, social democratic get together Meretz to the right-wing, nationalist Yamina. Remarkably, it additionally consists of the Arab Islamist Ra’am get together, marking the primary time in Israel’s historical past an Arab get together will probably be a part of a coalition authorities.
Ought to this “authorities of change” win a vote of confidence within the coming days, it will likely be led by the person I supported and labored for in March’s common election, Naftali Bennett — an immensely spectacular politician. The actual fact we’re the place we’re as we speak demonstrates his statesmanship and political acumen. I’ve recognized him for greater than 20 years and he’s disciplined, good, entrepreneurial and essentially needs to enhance the lives of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs.
There isn’t a avoiding nevertheless, he has taken an enormous danger. His core voters won’t thank him for what he has achieved this week, and if there was an election tomorrow, the autumn from grace could be dramatic. I personally consider by placing his profession on the road for what he believes to be proper, he has demonstrated true management and has proven his passionate dedication to Israel, and to its individuals.
Within the 25 years I’ve labored in Israeli elections, there has all the time been an ideological cut up: peace vs. safety, secular vs. faith, however this election was distinctive. The cut up was between pro-Bibi and anti-Bibi — for and towards Israel’s longest serving prime minister. That’s the solely factor holding these diametrically opposed coalition events collectively — and that’s what’s going to make the subsequent stage so perilous for Bennett, and certainly all the opposite members of his broad coalition.
Getting elected is the simple half. Governing will probably be far more durable. Bennett’s problem will probably be to navigate the stresses and strains of coalition authorities in a rustic that has enormous political and financial points to know.
My intuition tells me the leaders of the coalition will do their stage finest to keep away from the extra delicate points dealing with Israel and hope to defer them to a future authorities. Nevertheless, the will from Europe and the US for a two-state resolution is endlessly rising, and the strain between Israel and Hamas stays at a boiling level following the current violence. Then there’s the social and financial prices of the COVID-19 pandemic. A problem in themselves, additionally they provide a possibility for Naftali and others to make use of this vital activity as a basis on which to construct bridges for extra controversial coverage debates.
There’s one factor for sure, Netanyahu’s shadow will loom massive within the coming months. Having served as his chief of workers after he was first elected prime minister, I might by no means rule him out. He has proven himself to be a political magician and survivor. He gained’t depart and not using a struggle, and if he loses the vote of no confidence subsequent week, he will probably be ruthless in opposition.
Lots of the 61 members of the Knesset who’ve joined forces to oust Bibi are already cautious of such a broad coalition. They’ll discover themselves below colossal stress. All Netanyahu will want at any level to convey the federal government down is one vote. Even when he loses this battle, which now seems possible, he’ll preserve preventing the political struggle.
No matter lies forward, we have now already witnessed world historical past. My perception is that Bennett’s disciplined persona, statesmanship and his dedication to offer Israelis stability and keep away from a fifth election in two years will see him drive this coalition ahead. It is going to be the largest problem of his life, nevertheless it might see Israel extra united. And a extra united Israel can solely be a optimistic factor for the Center East and the world.