In a dramatic, late-night move, Israel’s two main political parties have agreed to form a national unity government, canceling early elections and forming a solid front as the country braces for a possible pre-emptive strike against Iran–and possible American opposition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had only recently announced his intention to call early elections for the sake of stability heading into the fall, has likely achieved that stability almost immediately through his political gambit.
The price reportedly demanded by the opposition Kadima party, led by former Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, was that the current law allowing military deferments for religious students be amended.
Netanyahu’s governing Likud has been frequently demonized by then-Senator Barack Obama and his left-wing allies, including the radical J Street organization, who have held out the opposition Kadima as an acceptable alternative to the current Israeli government. As much as Likud may have to accept some policy compromises, Israel’s critics will be forced to confront the fact that Israeli society is largely unified against the threat of a nuclear Iran and against the threat posed by a potential terrorist state in the West Bank.