Israel Middle East Politics & Diplomacy
Issue Brief September 24, 2020

The chosen people vs. their chosen people

By Shalom Lipner

As Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s court trial and the Knesset’s deadline to negotiate a fiscal deal draw near, the Israeli government faces a crisis of accountability. A bloated bureaucracy and constant competition have impaired the government’s ability to formulate and implement sound diplomatic, security, and economic decisions.

A new Atlantic Council issue brief, “The Chosen People vs. Their Chosen People,” authored by Shalom Lipner, a nonresident senior fellow for Middle East programs at the Atlantic Council, describes the ways in which competition among Israeli politicians has caused them to prioritize scoring against their political adversaries rather than finding effective solutions for their people.

The issue brief discusses the ways in which Netanyahu has used his call to annex the West Bank and subsequent deal with the United Arab Emirates to try to maintain his political capital. It also focuses on the government’s disorganized and poor management of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how competition between key Israeli ministers within the swollen infrastructure has led to inefficiencies. The report concludes with recommendations for how the Israeli government can change to ensure its policy apparatus is acting in the best interest of its citizens.

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Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.