After weeks of rumors, President Donald Trump today replaced National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with former Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. Many foreign policy analysts and advocates immediately expressed deep concern and dismay at Bolton’s appointment.
Well, here it is, the day after. The Israeli elections are over, but the form of the next government is not at all clear. Most likely, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Beiteinu party will form a government with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party being the main partner. This is by far the most likely scenario, though others possibilities exist, even a million-to-one long shot that Lapid could form a government. Labor is likely to be leading the opposition, unless Lapid surprises everyone and stays out of a Netanyahu-led government.
Israel’s elections are coming up in a few days, but the biggest story of this election season has already been written. The rise of the HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party, and especially the emergence of its leader, Naftali Bennett, represents a shift in Israeli politics that the rest of the world must take note of.
The former head of Israel’s General Security Service, commonly known as the Shin Bet, has caused quite a stir with an interview that roasts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alive. Yuval Diskin paints a disturbing picture of Netanyahu as a leader who, far more than most, is motivated by personal political gain rather than by strategy. Cynically, and one might even say appropriately, most of us routinely ascribe such motives to most politicians, but Diskin’s point is that Netanyahu leans much more toward this motivation than most.
It all seemed so familiar. With Israeli elections looming, Israel takes a step ostensibly in response to rocket fire from Gaza that it knows very well will escalate the fighting. Tit for tat grows until Israel launches a much larger attack on the besieged Strip. Throughout all of this, the US repeats the mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself,” casting Israel as the innocent, if not helpless, victim.