In every Israeli election since 2015—we’ve had four now, and in 2021 are headed toward a fifth—the average Israeli voter has one main thing in mind when he or she decides whom to vote for: Do I want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to keep his job?
So on the eve of another round of Israeli elections, in which a “right” is supposedly battling a “left,” we have to ponder two options. The first is to agree that most of what Israelis argue about is either relatively unimportant (should we pass a nationality law?) or strictly tribal (do you belong to this or that segment of the population?), or just personal (do you approve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?). The second option is to change the definition of our political camps and what they mean. Do not contrast the small, vocal and largely irrelevant minority of people who still call themselves a left with the majority—because it skews the real political picture. Do not even call it a left—it’s confusing. Do not pretend the major debate in Israel is about the peace process—because it’s not. What is it about then? Hmmm. Good question.
What is the role of Jewish law in the life of a Jewish state? The question might seem abstract, but the Knesset has been debating it heatedly for months, often in discussions that deteriorate into shouting matches.
But can President Trump and his special Middle East envoys accept anything less?