A politcal cliche
The clichéd view of Israeli politics is that it is that it is corrupt, selfserving and deeply unstable. Like most clichés, this is grounded in truth. Israel’s PM is widely expected to be indicted for corruption. And one would have to be credulous in the extreme not to believe that the prime driver behind the raft of new parties emerging for the forthcoming election is the self-interest of those involved, rather than any issues of principle. But for all that, there is another rarely told story — of a political culture of compromise, determination and realism. A series of new bills have either recently passed into law or, with the current Knesset being wound up, begun their journey. The Food Donation Act, indemnifying food donors, has already started saving tonnes of food that would otherwise be binned. A law making it illegal to pay prostitutes for sex — a huge problem in Israel — passed on December 31. The government will soon institute a parallel rehabilitation scheme for sex workers. And with vaccinations resisted by many in the Strictly Orthodox community, a new bill imposing large fines for those who do not have their children vaccinated passed its first reading this week.
All of these bills will benefit Israel. All three required cross-party co-operation, against large and powerful vested interests. All required politicians with vision, skill and dexterity. Israel already leads the world in many areas. With each of these three bills it can boast that it is setting an example for the rest of us to follow — and it has only been able to do this because Israeli politics allowed it to do so.