From dysfunctional government to rambunctious campaign - analysis

The ultimate proof of the government being dysfunctional was that it was not even capable of taking steps to end its own life.

Lawmakers are seen in the Knesset plenum during the preliminary vote to dissolve the Knesset on December 2, 2020.. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)
Lawmakers are seen in the Knesset plenum during the preliminary vote to dissolve the Knesset on December 2, 2020..
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)
It is only fitting that a government that failed to function since it was formed in May ended up completing its tenure seven months later by taking no action whatsoever on Tuesday night.
The ultimate proof of the government being dysfunctional was that it was not even capable of taking steps to end its own life and had to wait for time to run its course instead.
If suicide requires too much of an effort, it says something about the life leading up to it.
What will make the government seem even more incapacitated in retrospect is the contrast with the campaigns that lie ahead.
That is when our politicians will come alive and become vibrant again, proving how functional they can be when they are campaigning for themselves, rather than serving the people.
Netanyahu is the best case in point. He fooled three networks into broadcasting a campaign speech live for the umpteenth time on Tuesday night, breaking Israel’s propaganda laws.
He took full advantage of the situation. A press conference that was supposed to be about why Israelis were going to the polls for a fourth time in two years ended up being a platform for attacking his latest political rival, former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar.
In what sources close to him said would be one of the central messages of his campaign that he will repeat ad nauseam, Netanyahu connected Sa’ar to opposition leader Yair Lapid and the Left. Sa’ar is more right-wing than Netanyahu, so he could not call him a leftist, but he can denounce him as a future partner of the Left.
“Gideon Sa’ar can only form a government by siding with Lapid,” Netanyahu said. “He has no other way of establishing a government without Lapid and the parties on the Left.”
Sources close to Netanyahu said the message would be that in this election, voters have a choice between a government dependent on the Left and a full right-wing government of Likud, Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism.
The aim of such a message is to retrieve right-wing voters back from Sa’ar and Yamina.
Netanyahu also emphasized his successes in bring about peace deals and vaccines. The goal of that key message is that Israelis will be choosing between Netanyahu the leader and other choices who are mere politicians.
Lapid welcomed Netanyahu’s messages, which present him as the real alternative.
“I 100% agree with Netanyahu,” he said ironically. “Yesh Atid must be the leading party to replace the government, or we will get yet another corrupt Netanyahu-led government after the election.”
That statement will be a significant part of Yesh Atid’s campaign.
As for Blue and White, decisions will first have to be made about whether its leaders Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi and Avi Nissenkorn will remain with the party. Gantz and Ashkenazi have hinted that they won’t run again, while Nissenkorn may find himself in another party.
Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay, who is a hi-tech millionaire, said he would remain in politics and will work to bring Netanyahu down.
But there is no guarantee that Blue and White will run on its own in the next election. The party that was the alternative to Likud in the last three elections may not even make it to the next one.
Unlike the government that took no action on Tuesday night to end its life, Blue and White took countless steps to do so.
The government’s suicide was effortless. Blue and White’s was a lot of work.