This morning’s announcement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Leader of Kadima Shaul Mofaz will form a unity government, instead of holding early elections, raises many critical questions.
Will this development bring the government toward the center and create the space for Israel’s leadership to substantively address the key challenges the country faces? Or will it go down in history as little more than a maneuver designed to ensure the political survival of those involved?
As Israel faces multiple threats– the shrinking window of opportunity for reaching a viable two-state solution and the risk of Iran developing nuclear weapons, among them– will this new government have both the capacity and the will to chart a course toward a future where Israel is secure, democratic and retains its Jewish values?
As the dust settles, it will be key to watch how much room newly–appointed Deputy Prime Minister Mofaz has in assuming the portfolio of the peace process. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that one of the challenges this new coalition will take on is to “try to promote a reasonable peace process.” We urge Mofaz to see his charge as going beyond just “promoting” a peace process, and towards achieving a lasting agreement.
We hope that the new government’s leaders will seize the opportunity afforded them by this sizeable coalition to confront head-on the core challenges facing Israel in its quest for true peace and security: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, the economy, equality and election reform, to name but a few.