These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

New Government

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Ari Abelman

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From my blog:

I currently live in a country with no government.

It’s an odd thought, and of course it’s only true under a particular definition of “government.” But in Israel, where “government” is often used to mean “ruling coalition,” this is an ordinary occurrence every time a new Knesset is elected.

What’s unique this time, at least as I understand it, is the difficulty that Netanyahu, the presumed Prime Minister, has had in assembling this coalition. Just recently he had to ask for a two-week extension to the four-week period of coalition building that normally follows elections here. If he fails to form a government in the period, which ends on March 16th, President Shimon Peres will have to decide whether to ask a different part to try to form a coalition, or else to give up and call new elections.

Personally, I do not think that any of this will happen. Netanyahu wants to be Prime Minister, and when push comes to shove, I have little doubt that he will make the compromises that Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett demand in return for joining the coalition and creating a governing majority. At this point, that seems very close to happening.

What’s interesting, though is how little effect this state of affairs actually has on Israel. Life goes on as usual. There is a government, even though there is no “government.”