Israel’s new government: scandalous by any definition

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Americans for Peace Now
Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer.

By Americans for Peace Now | May 18, 2020

After nearly 18 months of transition government and three deadlocked elections, what has emerged, at a time of acute economic hardship brought on by the corona pandemic, is Israel’s largest and most financially wasteful government in history, a record 36 ministers-strong.

Q. What are the primary tasks that confront the new government of Israel that was sworn in on May 17?

A. Before discussing some very urgent tasks, the scandal involved in the emergence of this government requires that we start with its ugly aspect. Followed by the funny part. Then and only then can we get down to what’s urgent and important.

After nearly 18 months of transition government and three deadlocked elections, what has emerged, at a time of acute economic hardship brought on by the corona pandemic, is Israel’s largest and most financially wasteful government in history, a record 36 ministers-strong. It features the remarkable innovation of a prime minister and an alternate prime minister. Its leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, claims that the hundreds of millions of taxpayer shekels needed to pay for salaries, offices, drivers and all the other perks of useless ministries will come to less than the cost of a fourth round of elections.

That’s debatable. What’s not debatable are the ridiculous reasons for creating this burdensome government. While Israel’s prolonged crisis of governance has ended, that crisis has been replaced by something simply ludicrous. Netanyahu smugly and confidently expects that the public, including over one million unemployed and tens of thousands of the bankrupt and idled self-employed, will forget about this monumental waste of scarce resources even as his new government sets about slashing pensions and raising taxes to refill the coffers emptied by the virus.

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