Generally, when major countries/powers enter into a time of political instability, it is the talk of media outlets and political conversations everywhere. Such was the case with Brazil, Italy, Greece, and the United Kingdom to name a few. But for the first time in Israeli history, the state has been reliant on a transition government since December 26, 2018. There has been little to no mention about Israel’s current political crises by major U.S. news outlets or political conversations at school.
In addition to concerns about Israeli stability in the Middle East, major strides (largely undiscussed) are being taken in Washington. According to the independent newspaper The Times of Israel, this included two separate meetings with the two major contenders (Benjamin Nathnehu and Benny Gantz) for the role of Israeli prime minister about President Trump’s peace plan prior to its release. While the contents of Trump’s recently released peace plan are hotly contested, it is in the best interests of all countries involved to work towards peace in the Middle East. With uncertainty over Israel’s leadership and major divides within the country, there is serious concern over Israel’s ability to implement such political plans or even have beneficial debates, jeopardizing the state’s ability to work towards creating lasting peace in the region. Recognizing the fact that the U.S has been a military force in the region since 1958, impeding the process to peace is in no one’s best interest.
The lack of attention (on all levels) to Israel’s current situation is worrying. On the topic of its standing in the Middle East, It is a major political and military ally of the United States in that region. Especially in a time of heightened tensions since the US’s assassination of major Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in January 2020 Israel needs the ability to effectively protect itself against mounting tensions. Regardless of Soleimani’s death, countless joint US-Israeli operations have been carried out over the years and as citizens who are concerned for troops abroad, an unstable allied government increases the dangerous conditions under which the U.S military serves.
In addition, it is the duty of citizens (whether or not they can vote) to understand the current politics so they can make informed decisions (now or in the future) during election cycles. Specifically, with 2020 being an election year, it is important for voters to understand the policies candidates are proposing. With Israel being one of the expected topics, voters should understand the complexities and nuances that will be discussed during debates, as well as policies that could be enacted during the next president’s time in office.
Lastly, it is no small secret that discussing Israel and its politics is a divisive issue, especially in a community such as SPA where a diverse pool a viewpoints and experiences can make the topic feel polarized and polarizing, but it appears that fears over the debates that could arise from discussing the topic, has off-put needed political conversation. By encouraging a culture where such issues are discussed without fear of judgment or repercussions, students and citizens alike can continue the important tradition of holding governments (both domestically and abroad) accountable for their actions, causing real and important political change to occur.
From students at SPA to lawmakers in Washington, everyone should attempt to be informed on state crises, political change, and nuances to keep countries in line and encourage political debate which could inform the policy and approach of the American government.