You have to be living in a cave without TV, cable, newspapers, internet or radio to have avoided hearing or reading about the Israeli national elections this week. It saw more coverage than I can ever remember an Israeli election having outside of Israel. In fact, I don’t remember a national election in any foreign country receiving so much coverage here in the U.S.
Now that the election is over, the ballots tallied, the seats divvied up, who is the winner? What is next for Israel?
There are two things I can say with certainty about the election results in Israel this week and the impact they will have in the coming months. The first is that no one has any idea what lies ahead for Israel. No one knows whether Netanyahu will be able to establish a government. If he does, no one knows which way it will lean. No one knows whether the government he forms will work toward establishing a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. No one can tell what affect the election will have on the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama. It is unclear what affect the election will have on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora community, especially in the U.S. Who knows how this election will affect the U.S. Jewish community itself.
The second thing I am certain of is that with all this uncertainty there is no lack of prognosticators who claim they know what now lies ahead for Israel. Just look at the headlines of the past couple of days: NY Times, “Bibi Will Make History”; NY Times, “Obama may agree to UN Resolution on ’67 borders after Netanyahu campaign rhetoric”; Washington Post, “Why Netanyahu Win Isn’t That Dramatic”; NY Times, “Netanyahu win is good for Palestine”; Haaretz, “Don’t let Netanyahu win fool you: Israel shifted to the left”: NY Times, New York Jews give thumbs-up to Netanyahu reelection”; Times of Israel, “Netanyahu win dashes prospect for a thaw with Obama”; NY Times, “How Netanyahu is likely to build a right wing coalition.”
What it comes down to is this: whatever your personal feelings about Israel were before the elections will inform how you feel about what is to come after the elections. But that speaks more to the general problem I think our society has today about refusing to listen to what those who disagree with us have to say.
My advice, let’s wait and see how things play out.