The 70-day-old Israeli coalition government that broke up on Tuesday was a prime example of political shoddiness at its worst.
Israel has seen its share of unity governments. Some lasted longer than others; some accomplished a great deal and some were missed opportunities. But there has never been anything like this.
In the dark of night 70 days ago, only minutes before the Knesset was going to schedule elections for September 4, the leaders of the two big parties shocked everyone with a “historic” coalition agreement for the ensuing 18 months.
The new government had four goals: pass a universal draft law, change the system of government, jump-start the peace process and pass an emergency budget. Tuesday, after 70 days of euphoria, the partnership dissolved without any one of those things being achieved.
Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz are emerging from this bad joke, which made a mockery of Israeli democracy, looking bad. Both are going back to square one in much worse positions than before. Netanyahu looks as though he has forged an eternal alliance with the ultra-Orthodox, while Mofaz, who wanted the public to judge him by his results, has a very poor report card to show his voters; it has four zeros on it. He had good intentions, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with.
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