(March 26) Americans, and indeed all people of goodwill, should be pleased to see that Israel finally has broken its 15-month political impasse.

Amidst a global pandemic, jihadists might have misinterpreted instability in Israel as providing them with a chance to spark a conflagration without fearing effective repercussions from a stricken and distracted Western world. But now that three-time challenger Bennie Gantz has agreed to let Benjamin Netanyahu continue for 18 months as prime minister in a “unity government,” there will be no doubt that Israel itself can act against any aggression with solidarity and dispatch.

Gantz and some but not all of his Blue and White party will help Netanyahu form a governing bloc with about 74 members of the 120-seat Knesset (Israel’s parliament). Gantz apparently will serve as foreign minister until September of 2021, after which he will take over as prime minister. Even though this seems to mean the end of Blue and White as a unified party, it provides a coalition with Netanyahu’s Likud party that is numerous enough to last for a while rather than teetering just one or two votes away (in the Knesset) from collapsing.

Whatever one thinks of Netanyahu’s private behavior (self-indulgent but not necessarily illegal or harmful to the public polity), he has been a remarkable success at improving Israel’s economy and its diplomacy with more of its Arab neighbors. This unified front against more radical forms of Islam serves not only Israel’s interests but those of the whole civilized world.

Meanwhile, a stable Israel also is an Israel even better able to put its remarkable genius to work in realms of science and, especially now, medical research, in ways that can help the world cope with the pandemic. While it is not true that Israel is on the cusp of being able to release a vaccine against the coronavirus, it is indeed true that its researchers are on the cutting edge, on multiple fronts, of that effort….

[The full column is here.]


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