The excerpt below is from an opinion article written by Conrad Black for National Post, which originally appeared on April 14, 2019. The original article in its entirety can be read here.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s narrow victory in this week’s election, prevailing through the complicated Israeli electoral process while under preliminary criminal indictment, is a formidable achievement. Next year he is set to become the longest serving prime minister in the country’s history, over 14 years. In Israeli elections, the composition of the Knesset (parliament) is entirely by proportion of the total vote; there are no constituencies. In their zeal to ensure that all voices are heard, the founders of the State of Israel determined that any party gaining one per cent of the vote would be seated in the 120-member chamber. The result has been bulky coalitions, and the occasional grand coalition between the two major parties in which the four-year term is divided; two years as premier for each of the principal party leaders. The proverbially argumentative Israelis make self-government as difficult as possible. According to the Old Testament, God Himself described the Jews as “a stiff-necked people;” apparently, according to ancient scriptures, even the Almighty, in contemplation of His chosen people, was reduced to understatement.
Netanyahu’s victory, to which U.S. President Trump made a significant contribution, by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing the annexation to Israel of the Golan Heights, along with the emergence of a strong and coherent opposition under a compelling leader, the Blue and White Party of Gen. Benny Gantz, marks several milestones in Israel’s progress. This is the first time the country has had two parties that between them had a solid majority since the more stressed days of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir on the right (Likud) and mainly Sephardim, and Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres on the moderate left-Labour (Mapai) and mainly Ashkenazi. (Sephardic Jews are mainly of North African and Middle Eastern origin and Ashkenazi are mainly European.) Netanyahu has reconstructed Likud from the residue left after Ariel Sharon took most of the Likud Party into a new party (Kadima) more disposed to negotiate, in 2005, leaving Netanyahu holding the bag with only a handful of Likud legislators.
Read the original article in its entirety here.