Pressing foreign policy matters mean Israel needs a strong, stable government after the election.
Well, Israelis will be going to the polling places yet again in a couple of weeks. There is a tendency to emphasize the importance of the election for domestic reasons: Yes Bibi no Bibi; are the haredim part of the Israeli community or simply freeloaders; when will the damned virus finally leave us; how will we get all the unemployed back to work, is the High Court overreaching itself and should it be cut down to size, etc., etc.
All of these matters are important, beyond doubt, not least the first of them. But international matters must not get lost in the shuffle. This is a crucial time for Israel for at least three reasons:
1. There is a new administration in Washington, and although it is very unlikely to be openly anti-Israel, as was the Obama administration, it will certainly be far more critical of Israeli policies and actions than was the Trump administration. A stable government in Jerusalem is necessary to deal effectively with our most important ally.
2. The Abraham Accords need to be followed up vigorously and additional members added where possible. Biden's people will not be particularly helpful here--in fact, they may be distinctly unhelpful as has already been shown by the suspension of the F-35 sale to the UAE.
3. Last, but definitely not least, the situation viz-a-viz Iran is reaching a point of no return. Soon the government of Israel may be faced with the necessity of attacking the nuclear processing sites by itself since the US can no longer be counted upon to "have our back".
Unforeseen events may intervene, such as the collapse of the Lebanese government and a subsequent total takeover of that country by Hezbollah, or a threatened takeover of the Iraqi government by pro-Iranian forces, or further egregious violations of Syrian and Iraqi territory by an aggressive Turkey, to name a just a few possibilities
Dealing effectively with any of these issues requires a stable, well-functioning government, something we have not had for far too long. The Israeli electorate faces a dauntingly-heavy responsibility.
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 - en.globes.co.il - on March 4, 2021
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