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First of All, the New Government Must Learn From the Biden Administration
US President-elect Joe Biden with (L-R) Avril Haines, Wendy Sherman, Antony Blinken, Jon Finer, William Burns, Victoria Nuland and Samantha Power.

First of All, the New Government Must Learn From the Biden Administration

Ma’ariv, Israel, March 24

As of the time these lines are being written, it is still unknown who exactly won the Israeli elections. But what is known is the list of problems that the next government — no matter who leads it — will have to confront. Our world has changed in the last year. From a peaceful life we’ve all come to live in the shadow of a mysterious virus that killed more than two million people worldwide. Israel’s successful management of the virus, especially in comparison to other countries, served to remind us how lucky we are that those calling to privatize our health care system have failed. Israel’s health maintenance organizations, which are typically subject to mockery and criticism, have become the subject of Israeli pride and appreciation during the era of COVID-19. Along with the health situation, our world has also changed on the economic front. Thousands of small businesses have collapsed without being able to return to activity and some million Israelis are sitting in their homes trying to survive on unemployment benefits. Tourism, one of our major growth engines, has almost disappeared from the world, as have the leisure and recreational industries. Finally, alongside all of these changes, there was another important shift: In the United States, Israel’s most important ally, a new president stepped into office earlier this year. Unlike his predecessor in the White House, this new president has rich political experience. And, like at least half of Israel’s citizens, this new president believes that Israel’s major political and security concern revolves around its conflict with the Palestinians. Therefore, President Biden is calling for a policy that focuses on bringing both sides back to the negotiation table in order to advance the two-state solution. The somewhat intimate relationship between Netanyahu and Trump has been replaced by a relationship of suspicion with Biden. But it is worth remembering that the top priority of the Biden administration is dealing with domestic issues at home; not with foreign policy. As much as Biden is concerned about the Middle East, he is far more concerned about vaccine rollouts in all 50 states, the revitalization of the US economy, and the reopening of schools. He is also deeply concerned about the growing racial divides in America. Here in Israel, after four elections in two years, our society has become more divided than ever before. There is real hatred that exists among us. We know that our ability to stand up to our enemies has always been based on our unity. But this unity is long gone. The new government has to deal with countless issues: the financial situation, the Palestinian question, Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb. All of these issues are real and tangible. However, the new government should learn a thing or two from the Biden administration: it should do more and talk less. It should make domestic policy a priority, instead of rushing to deal with foreign policy issues. What we desperately need is a stable and calm government that thinks at least two steps ahead. Not another government that is only concerned about its own survival and makes populist decisions to appease its supporters. –Yoram Dori (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

 

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