David Frum

01.10.13

Israel Needs More Secular Nationalism

My friend Emmanuel Navon calls in a column today for a new coalition of the secular Israeli right in this month's elections, uniting nationalists against both socialists and the ultra-religious:

The only coalition that could advance electoral reform is a coalition between Likud-Israel Beitenu, Yesh Atid, and the Jewish Home –a coalition that would exclude the ultra-orthodox parties. Such a coalition would be similar to the one formed by Sharon in 2003. The same way that the 2003 coalition enabled the government to pass the necessary budget cuts, a similar coalition ten years later might make it possible, for the first time, to reform Israel’s political system.

A government led by Netanyahu, Bennet and Lapid would also pursue a responsible economic policy and lower the cost of housing. Such a government will continue to manage the unsolvable conflict with the Palestinians: Netanyahu will give good speeches around the world, Lapid will say that he’d love to solve the conflict but that conditions are not ripe, and Bennet’s semi-annexation plan will be shelved. …

This scenario is not unlikely according to the polls, provided that Likud-Beitenu convinces more voters that it deserves their votes. But for this to happen, Likud’s leadership needs to clearly state that it intends to form the next coalition with Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home, and without the ultra-orthodox –a coalition whose three main targets will be to implement electoral reform, to maintain economic growth through a fairer share of the economic burden, and to pursue its relatively successful management of the unsolvable conflict with the Palestinians.