Assessments

Amid Political Chaos, Israel Remains Focused on Iran

Dec 3, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman during a weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Dec. 1, 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman during a weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Dec. 1.

(ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel's past year of political pandemonium shows no signs of abating in 2020. Two national elections have failed to yield a viable government. And now, longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to step down in the face of corruption indictments. In this prolonged power vacuum, formerly radical policies are increasingly slipping toward the fore, as opposing right-wing and centrist parties jostle for the nationalist vote needed to form a government. But while Israelis are seemingly more politically and culturally divided than ever, the perceived existential threat of Iran and its nuclear program nonetheless remain a uniting force among voters. Thus, no matter what government finally emerges from the fray in the coming year, Israel's security focus on Iran will remain largely undeterred -- even as its political situation at home remains in disarray, challenging the country's rule of law and democratic institutions in the process....

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