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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.63 minutes to read.

During his years in power, Netanyahu oversaw a flourishing economy, led by a booming high-tech sector, and made Israel a world leader in coronavirus vaccinations—two unequivocal accomplishments. (It is worth pointing out the rising levels of inequality as a consequence of the former, and the country’s robust socialized health system as a key factor in terms of the latter.) But by consolidating a right-wing majority—and using it to incite a backlash against entire segments of the public and to attack the legitimacy and independence of democratic institutions, chief among them the judiciary and the press—he has done damage to Israeli democracy that may be long-lasting.

Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker

Israel’s new government, which was officially formed yesterday, is getting a lot of attention, mostly for one reason: It marks the end of the more than a dozen years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership. But this new government is potentially just as significant for another reason: It is the beginning of an era in which Israel no longer truly has a prime minister…

Mr. Bennett is a partial prime minister now; Mr. Lapid will be a partial prime minister in two years. In reality, neither can do anything without the consent of the other because of a law that in practice gives each veto power…

Will this not lead to a permanent state of deadlock in which no leader is able to make bold, and necessary, decisions? Perhaps sometimes… Clearly, indecision and gridlock are real risks for our political power-sharing future. But there are also potential benefits…

At a time when polarization is such a grave social and political threat, Israel might have awkwardly stumbled into a remedy: an enforced regime of compromise. If this government is a success — as any Israeli would hope — the result may be the civility and consensus we have been waiting for.

Shmuel Rosner, New York Times

After years of officially inspired campaigns of hatred and divisiveness, contrived to serve one man’s political needs, we have the most diverse government in the country’s history. After the worst violence between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews since 1948, we have the nation’s first Jewish-Arab coalition.

If the new coalition achieves nothing more than liberating Israel from those who have tried to unravel the delicate balance between nationalism and democracy, decency and power – dayenu, it is sufficient. If the new coalition achieves nothing more than offering a counter-vision of an Israel that strives to respect and manage its essential differences and place the country above sectarian needs – dayenu.

Can this coalition last? Given its bare majority and inner contradictions, the odds aren’t brilliant. And yet even if it doesn’t survive its term, it has already won.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, where he is co-director, together Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University and Maital Friedman, of the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), and a member of the Institute's iEngage Project. (Published in The Times of Israel)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.57 minutes to read.

The Israel of 2021 is domestically a fulfillment of the mere promise of Israel in 2009 — with an economy nearly doubled in size over 12 years and household income per capita 50 percent higher. This once-poor, resource-starved struggling nation is now the world’s 31th richest.

Netanyahu is not responsible for this except in one epically important sense — unlike previous leaders, who were either economically illiterate or ideologically hostile to entrepreneurship, he did not stand in the way of private-sector progress and instead viewed that progress as an unalloyed good.

John Podhoretz, NY Post

On Sunday, after months of wrangling, Israel swore in a new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, for the first time since 2009. What are the lessons for the U.S.? First, the new government could clarify the American debate over Israel…

Now Likud is out of government, but Israeli voters still don’t accept the dovish security policies that the American left wants. Yet in a Biden Administration staffed with Obama alumni who personally dislike Mr. Netanyahu, the selection of the centrist Yair Lapid as foreign minister and alternate Prime Minister could smooth over diplomacy…

The Israeli political saga also highlights the importance of political certainty. Israel had four inconclusive elections since 2019, and the new government might also be short-lived. That’s due to Israel’s system of proportional representation…

America’s Electoral College yields a clear presidential winner on a predictable timeline… Electoral systems need to balance perceived fairness with finality. Israel’s two years of paralyzing uncertainty over its political leadership ought to be a warning to those who would fundamentally alter the tried-and-true American two-party system.

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

As Netanyahu moves out of the Prime Minister’s Residence and takes over the position of leader of the Opposition, we must look back at his term in office and say thank you for his achievements.

Netanyahu’s last few years in particular have been very divisive, with unbridled attacks on the justice system, the media, the police, and anybody he considered a political rival.

Moreover, Netanyahu is leaving the premiership under a cloud of corruption, standing trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust…

Nevertheless. there is a Jewish tradition of hakarat hatov – expressing gratitude. Netanyahu is a human being with faults and failings, but he is also someone who has dedicated his life and career to the Jewish state, and has achieved an impressive list of accomplishments…

It is too early to say how exactly Netanyahu will be remembered in history, but it’s not too early to thank him for his service to our nation. We do not forget his divisiveness but we also do not forget his contribution in transforming Israel into a military and economic powerhouse.

Editorial Board, Jerusalem Post