Israel on the edge

Dr. Norman Bailey

The loss of life at Meron brings home the wider dangers Israel faces in the absence of a functioning government.

The disaster at Meron demonstrated the extreme irresponsibility of the participants, but also the equally extreme irresponsibility of the authorities.

This is just another example of the growing dangers involved in the fact that Israel has not had a normally-functioning government for the last two years. These dangers are both in the domestic arena and the regional and international arenas.

It is becoming clear that the new Biden administration in Washington simply does not consider the Middle East, including Israel, as an area of priority concern. The withdrawal from Afghanistan, currently underway, will lead inexorably to the takeover of the country again by the Taliban. Any likely new "deal" with Iran will turn that malign regime into a regional hegemon. The Saudis can apparently be insulted without concern. A return to monetary support of the Palestinian Authority and the endorsement (without any serious plan of implementation) of the worn-out "two-state solution" is feckless, at best.

Military and intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel is likely to continue but political cooperation will be seriously downgraded.

All this means that Israel, as well as its new allies in the Gulf, will be on their own, facing multiple threats-not only from a newly-energized Iran, but also from terrorist groups protected as in the past by the Taliban in Afghanistan and by Lebanese and Syrian governments incapable of controlling large segments of their own countries or the terrorist operating there. Jordan is increasingly unstable, and the possibility of a Jihadist takeover cannot be dismissed. That the implications of all this are widely apparent is demonstrated by Saudi Arabia’s current outreach to Iran.

In the meantime, Israel’s so-called "leaders" continue to play their silly games, toying with the future of the country. I put the word "leaders" in quotes for obvious reasons. The late Rabbi Sacks said that a good leader creates followers; a great leader creates leaders. The present crop does neither. It is indicative that politicians these days are praised simply if they do not engage in lashon hara and occasionally keep their word. Little is expected and little is delivered. Luckily, the IDF and the intelligence services have continued to operate reasonably well, and do their jobs, even if they can’t find competent authorities to authorize their activities.

But that in itself is dangerous; dangerous to democracy. All the instruments of government should be answerable to the popularly-elected authorities or democracy is at best a façade and at worst a charade.

Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.     

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on May 4, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

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