View from Netanya

In Israel things seem to be quiet and people are getting on with their lives. The schools went back on 1st September, to the considerable relief of parents. They are however about to break up again just before Yom Kippur and will be closed until after Sukkot. There are a large number of vested interests in the Israeli education system which needs a major makeover.

In the Knesset I anticipate some political bloodletting. Accusations are beginning to be exchanged regarding what did or didn’t happen in Operation Protective Edge, and how much was or wasn’t known about the tunnels. Jews have always been argumentative since the days of Moses, but the real problem in Israeli politics at the moment is that there is no credible leader apart from Netanyahu and until one emerges he is fairly safe no matter what does.

That is not to say that the Israeli government has in any way lost its disturbing ability to say the wrong things at the wrong time. I take no view as to whether or not another settlement is needed in the West Bank, although I am irritated by British (often Jewish) pundits who feel themselves entitled to express a view based on complete ignorance of the facts. The Rabbis were very wise when they said “Ain shemiya dome lireiya – hearing is not as good as seeing it for yourself.”

What does disturb me is the timing, which in politics is everything. If it is true that the pressure on Netanyahu to announce the new town on the West Bank came from other members of his coalition, then that is one of the major disadvantages of coalition politics. In Britain however you are beginning to understand the problems of coalitions!