The inclusion of Kadima into the ruling Likud Coalition can only be described as a political coup. The ninety-four seat coalition is beyond any majority government in scope and size in the brief history of Israel. This makes the coalition safe from threat from any single coalition member as it would maintain the required sixty-one plus number of members. So, with all of the many different predictions, some of great possibilities, others of doom and gloom, what will be the biggest change this super coalition will produce? One simple truth is that now Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot lay the blame on threats to the coalition as the reason not to fulfill the promises Likud had made to the people of Israel. Now it is perform up to your potential or go-home time for Benyamin Netanyahu. No longer does he have any hiding place claiming threats to the governing coalition to put off those items everyone has been demanding of him from within his own Likud members. Many of these are things that Netanyahu has claimed he faced overt resistance and thus the implementation of any of these “extreme” positions was not possible. So, what are the first and most pressing of these “extreme” positions which are now presumably within reach?
The most obvious and likely the most transformative would be the legalization of the vast majority, if not all, of the threatened communities in Judea and Samaria. Legislation legalizing these communities should be possible within days, weeks at the longest. The legalization of the five homes slated for destruction in the Ulpana neighborhood Beit El Israel, the entirety of the Migron community, any threatened suburb around Jerusalem with emphasis on those in the north and south of the city as well as the majority of those to the east as these are necessary to retain all of Jerusalem as the true Israeli Capital, and any of the other communities of sufficient size or age within reason. Anything short of a strong move towards legalizing these communities, especially the older areas where the buildings were built with the assistance and blessings of the government of Israel of their time, is an abortion of justice and should never be permitted. It is a sin that these older residential projects are now held to be illegal simply because the bureaucracy has not gotten around to issuing the proper licenses and other legalities which have been made necessary well after they were constructed. Government lethargy should never be the excuse to ruin peoples’ lives, especially those who were initially placed there by the government.
Another problem thrust upon the government by the orders of the Supreme Court has been the struck down Tal Law. The Tal Law gave all Haredi Religious Jews studying Torah a complete deference from IDF or community service as is required, in theory and law, of all other Jews in Israel. The call which has gotten some popular attention has been the need to require either IDF or community service by every single Israeli citizen, be they Haredi, Arab, Bedouin, Muslim, Christian, Bahá’í, or other. So far nobody has been willing to provide what should be the consequence should anybody absolutely refuse to do any State service, whether IDF or non-military community service. My preferred idea is that such service should be required before any citizen is given the right to vote, hold political office, or serve in any sensitive or security positions in Israel. Perhaps even change their classification from citizen to something with the equal rights of a resident alien with the one difference being their children would be automatically returned to citizen status once they had done their State service. For those who might say that such punishment for non-service is somewhat extreme I would counter that Israel exists under conditions and threats that make allowing for those who are not willing to directly serve her with three or four years of their young adult life may not be sufficiently invested or trustworthy for the full trust of the state. I am a fan of Robert Heinlein’s idea that full citizenship should come with a price of displayed loyalty and some degree of sacrifice.
There are likely numerous other issues which are of varied levels of importance to the many members of the Likud and other coalition parties. All of these should be able to be given a full investigation and debate in the remaining months or for as long as the super-coalition holds together. This is an opportunity without precedent in the history of the State of Israel. My deepest hope is that it does not pass unutilized as such may not reoccur in our lifetimes. The one other item that has received some hushed whispers is the idea of proposing alterations to the nature, type, and mechanisms of Israeli governance. Perhaps another of my wishes which I sometimes dream about may become a reality. Israel might actually consider writing and ratifying an actual written constitution with complete definitions of each position and the powers allotted to each branch. I am among those who fear that Israel is currently facing the beginning of a dictatorship of the black robed judges. Restrictions on the scope, purview and seemingly unlimited powers of the Supreme Court could very readily be in need of being scaled back and strictly defined. Such a monumental change in Israeli governance, should such be accomplished, should be placed before the people as a Constitutional Referendum. There may even be a requirement of such a vote requiring a super majority in such a vote instead of a mere majority, but that is not my choice to make. The running of Israel using the “Basic Laws” as the origin of governmental powers is simply too vague and leaves way too many decisions over powers, jurisdictions, responsibilities, channels of redress, mandates, and options open to differing interpretations and implementation. A constitution would do for the Israeli government what transcribing the Oral Laws did for Judaism, give a defined codification that removed much of the doubts, disagreements and splintering caused by arguments over interpretations or simply over wordings. Israel now faces one of the greatest potentials for changes and defining moments unseen in its history.
Beyond the Cusp