Pluralism and Israeli Political Reality

A lot of Americans are upset about Israel’s government for reasons that have little to do with the peace process. Though many liberal supporters of Israel may cling to the delusion that peace with the Palestinians might have been advanced had Prime Minister Netanyahu been defeated last month, the new coalition presents another, more serious problem for American Jews: the return of the ultra-Orthodox parties to the government after a two year hiatus during which there excluded from the government. Netanyahu’s government hangs by a thread so there’s no doubt that the Sephardi Shas and the Ashkenazi United Torah Judaism parties will be able to roll back some of the reforms put in place while they were gone from the Cabinet. This is causing a predictable and justified outcry among many American Jews. But before they start blaming Netanyahu for betraying them, they need to reacquaint themselves with the political realities of Israel and understand that Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog would have cut the same deals with the Haredim.