Sept. 27, 2019
Israel: Outwardly Turbulent But Internally Stable – Zev Chafets
Political hatred in Israel is no longer as decisive as it was back in the early days of the state, when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion refused even to mention the name of opposition leader Menachem Begin, much less invite him to join a coalition government. The fighting in the recent campaign was more pro wrestling than blood sport.
Partly this is a function of intimacy. Today’s political Israel (including journalists and commentators as well as candidates and office holders) is a small circle of players, many of whom grew up together, served in the same military units, attended the same universities, and worked with one another on the way up the ladder.
To outsiders, Jewish Israel may seem to be in a perpetual state of civil war, but beneath the turmoil there is surprising solidarity, based on shared national insecurity. There’s very little space between Netanyahu and Gantz on the fight against Iran and Islamic terrorism (including in Gaza), the need to hold strategic land and major settlements in the West Bank, or the crucial nature of the U.S.-Israel alliance. The writer served for five years as director of the Israel Government Press Office. (Bloomberg)