Israel’s Netanyahu-Gantz government is a ‘unity’ government, but it’s not really united. It took three elections for Israel to even get to this situation. The last of the three occurred as COVID-19 began swirling through the electorate and the unity government was formed with one key priority – to tackle the virus. But COVID-19 continues to work its way through Israel, and the political infighting has also continued. A common perception is that each party looks out almost exclusively for its own base, and not for the greater good.
How does Israel fix this?
Enter the Israel Democracy Institute. IDI was established in 1991 as an independent centre of research dedicated to strengthening the foundations of Israeli democracy and bolstering the values and institutions of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. It is non-partisan. It conducts research – including monthly polling – to educate decision makers and help shape policy, legislation and public opinion.
On Sunday’s Lockdown Learning, we’ll be speaking with the IDI’s president, Yohanan Plesner. Jerusalem-born, Yohanan is a former special forces officer who was working in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office when Sharon left Likud to create Kadima. Yohanan became the new party’s first secretary-general, and guided the party to electoral victory before later becoming a member of the Knesset himself.
We’ll ask Yohanan about short-term trends in Israel’s politics and the fight against COVID. But we’ll also ask him to ponder the long term: Can Israel make changes to its political system, to end electoral paralysis? Can Israel put aside identity politics, to enable broader reforms?
These are heady questions about the long-term health of a country about which we all care deeply.
Come armed with questions when you join us at 8pm AEDT (7pm QLD, 7:30 SA, 5pm WA, 11am Israel) this Sunday 22 November. We’ll be live-streaming to our Facebook page, or you can register to watch through Zoom, by clicking here.
This Sunday will be our last Lockdown Learning. Australia and the world has had a tough time this year. But there are always good things in any situation, and one of these has been the ability to harness the extraordinary power of instant video communication to bring you weekly conversations by some of Israel’s most fascinating commentators, thinkers, politicians (and celebrity chefs!) While the Lockdown Learning series is over, the ZFA will continue to bring you high-quality speakers on an ad hoc basis. Thank you for joining us week in and week out for 32 weeks. It has been a wonderful ride. See you on Sunday.