Israeli politicians must learn how to compromise

The JC Leaders, 29 September 2023


Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett holds a press confrence at the Judea and Samaria Division military base, near the West Bank settlement of Beit El, April 5, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט בית אל אוגדת איו"ש מסיבת עיתונאים

September 28, 2023 10:58

Naftali Bennett, who was this week awarded the inaugural Jewish Chronicle Am Echad Award for his contribution to Jewish unity, is on the right of Israeli politics.

But in office, he was part of a coalition which stretched across the political spectrum. He repeatedly made alliances with the left, secularists and Arab parties to achieve a stable government.

This won him a brief but successful period of governing in the national interest; but it cost him the support of members of his base who were infuriated by what they saw as a betrayal.

The polarisation and chaos that has followed, however, has vividly demonstrated the necessity for this kind of compromise in Israeli politics. Under its system of proportional representation, tribalism and intransigence leads to a permanent state of political crisis.

Netanyahu is a complicating factor, but until Israeli politicians learn this lesson, nothing will change.

Mental health must be funded

Our community prides itself on looking after those in need of help. But there has long been one glaring omission to this: mental health.

Jami does superb work but it is seriously underfunded compared to the need for its services.

The scale of that need is revealed in new research which shows that over half of Jews under 25 say they are living with mental illness, distress or trauma — with the figure for all ages standing at 26 per cent.

This week’s open letter from Jewish doctors and psychiatrists urges more support for Jami — a call which we fully endorse.

September 28, 2023 10:58

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