Sept. 25, 2019
Israel’s prolonged political volatility and uncertainty has had a disastrous impact on its strategic flexibility.
When Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman abruptly resigned his position as defense minister last November and started the countdown to the Knesset elections in April, he plunged Israel into a state of political instability. Following the April elections, by refusing to serve in a government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and so forcing Israel into a second election, Lieberman prolonged the instability he instigated.
Tuesday’s elections ended in deadlock. Neither major party can form a governing majority. And so, there is no end in sight for the instability Lieberman provoked and prolonged.
Israel’s prolonged political volatility and uncertainty have had a disastrous impact on Israel’s strategic flexibility. Indeed, it has induced strategic paralysis. Israel cannot respond in a meaningful way to threats or take advantage of strategic opportunities.
The implications of this dire state of affairs were brought to bear twice in one day during the campaign. In a press conference last Tuesday, Netanyahu announced his intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley after the elections. Netanyahu’s announcement included the revelation that U.S. President Donald Trump supports the move. American officials backed his claim after the fact.