Over the past decade, for the first time in its history, Israel developed a strong diplomatic posture in the region and worldwide. Israel developed strategic ties with Arab states, and the states of the eastern Mediterranean. It has built close ties with the EU’s Visegrád Group of central European states Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as Austria and Italy. Israel upgraded its diplomatic and trade relations with the states of Africa and Central and South America, as well as with India, Japan and South Korea.
Unfortunately, it is likely that all Israel achieved through painstaking effort may be lost after the new governing coalition led by Yair Lapid takes power next week. This is the case for three reasons.
First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the author of Israel’s diplomatic triumphs. They are predicated on his foreign policy vision that diplomatic ties are built on common interests even more than ideology and that Israel has much to offer the nations of the world.
There are many things that divide the members of the incoming governing coalition. But they agree on one thing – they all hate Netanyahu. So, the first reason Israel may soon abandon its diplomatic achievements is because Lapid and most of his partners in the coalition want to erase Netanyahu’s accomplishments.
The second reason Israel’s diplomatic position is likely to soon crash is because Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz along with most of their partners do not share Netanyahu’s diplomatic vision. Lapid is set to become foreign minister. Lapid, Gantz and the rest of the members of the incoming coalition are members of Israel’s elite class. Israel’s elite encompasses the political left, the media, the senior brass of the security establishment and the senior leadership of the foreign and justice ministries and right wingers who prefer their company and plaudits to those of members of their own camp. Israel’s elites, almost to the man believe Israel’s diplomatic position is exclusively a function of its relations with the Beltway establishment.
he third reason Israel’s decade of diplomatic achievements is likely to end in short order is that as America-obsessed elitists, Lapid, Gantz and their ilk don’t understand the importance or potential of what Netanyahu has accomplished. They will not dedicate the necessary resources to maintain the ties he forged with the likes of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz or Brazil’s President Javier Bolsonaro, because they don’t value those ties. So the ties will wither.