Israel is besieged not only by a deadly virus, but by identity politics, sectarian strife, and dishonest leadership. As the economic consequences of lockdown multiply, social and political tensions will only rise.
TEL AVIV – The COVID-19 crisis has become the latest front in the escalating clash of ideologies that has become a central feature of geopolitics in recent years. Representing authoritarianism is China, which has touted the success of its aggressive lockdown strategy in curbing the coronavirus’s spread. Representing democracy are a broad array of countries, some of which have responded far worse than others. So, which political system is better suited to managing crises?
TEL AVIV – Long before people and goods were traversing the globe non-stop, pandemics were already an inescapable feature of human civilization. And the tragedy they bring has tended to have a silver lining: perceived as mysterious, meta-historical events, large-scale disease outbreaks have often shattered old beliefs and approaches, heralding major shifts in the conduct of human affairs. But the COVID-19 pandemic may break this pattern.
TEL AVIV – Israel’s third electoral showdown in a year was not kind to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Even though his right-wing bloc of ultra-Orthodox and nationalist parties won more seats in parliament than the center-left bloc headed by former army chief Benny Gantz, he still lacks the parliamentary majority required to form a government. This result does not bode well for Israeli democracy.
TEL AVIV – Nobody should be surprised that US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal is heavily tilted toward the Israelis. What is surprising is that, rather than rejecting Trump’s proposal, the world has left the Palestinians largely on their own.
TEL AVIV – We no longer live in an era in which wars are officially declared. The US drone strike that killed Qassem Suleimani, the charismatic commander of Iran’s Quds Force, is but one landmark event in a multiyear, multi-front war between the US and its allies and Iran and its many proxies.
TEL AVIV : “A specter is haunting the rich world. It is the specter of ungovernability,” began an editorial in The Economist earlier this year, paraphrasing the opening line of the Communist Manifesto. But it is not only the West that is grappling with ungovernability. Across the Arab world, protesters have been making it clear that they will be ungovernable until their leaders deliver good governance.
TEL AVIV – The collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago meant that its once-formidable presence in the Middle East collapsed as well. Today, however, as the United States has withdrawn from the region, Russia has rushed to recapture the Soviet Union’s position there, through a combination of military force, arms deals, strategic partnerships, and the deployment of soft power. But its success is being significantly overestimated.
TEL AVIV – US President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, clearing the way for a Turkish offensive against the Kurds, is an unconscionable betrayal of a strategic ally.
TEL AVIV – At long last, Israel has taken a step back from the religious nationalist abyss into which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been leading it. In the September 17 parliamentary election, the country’s second in five months, the “natural coalition” of Netanyahu’s Likud party, Orthodox groups, and proto-fascist factions failed to reach the 61-seat threshold that would have enabled him to form another government.