A polit­cal cliche

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

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.

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