There's something interesting about watching a car or train accident about to happen. We know it's a terrible things and that quite possibly there will be horrible outcomes to the occupants of the vehicles. We know it's not a spectator sport and that we should look away but we can't help it. Our eyes are drawn to it.
Perhaps that's why all the attention in the upcoming elections in Israel are on Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud party. If advance polls are right (caveat: in Israel they're often spectacularly wrong) Bibi is in for a drubbing and the Likud is going to lose its governing position unless it makes a serious set of coalition agreements work. That's not impossible but it does foreshadow the possibility of an Israeli government controlled by single interest parties, none of them with an overarching national vision.
And the alternatives? A bland nobody who got the leadership of his party that no one else really wanted and Israel's version of Hillary Clinton, a shrill harpy who thinks she's entitled to be prime minister because she's obviously the best person in the country for the job.
Now, one of the advantages of parliamentary democracy is the ability of the prime minister to dissolve his government and call elections at a time most advantageous to him. This is what makes Bibi's decision to call an election at this time so bizarre. Yes he was leading in polls but a seasoned politician like him knows that polls in between election campaigns mean nothing. He had his two main opponents, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, under his thumb with Lapid spinning his wheels in Finance and Livni always off at some dead-end peace conference or another. Calling an election over nothing was sure to annoy the public. What's more, there was no real issue demanding it. If it was over the threat from Iran, Bibi already had a mandate to deal with it. If it was over the economy, well nothing much was happening to demand a radical change of course. Other than annoyance with his junior ministers and their aspirations there was no reason to bring down the government.
Except for one. Bibi has always been comfortable with having Chareidim in his government. This is the first time since Arik Sharon's first government that no Chareidi parties sat at the cabinet table. Forget their propaganda - they are not entitled to be in every government. In fact, with its current makeup Bibi was the most free any prime minister has been in decades to bring in lasting and effective social change to Israeli society. He could have addressed the crises in housing prices and the income disparity issues plaguing the middle class. He could have implemented a near universal draft, he could have changed how funding for the intentionally non-productive segments of Israeli society are funded. Instead he held back any meaningful initiatives and jumped ship the first chance he could.
Despite his excellent speaking skills and obvious passion for the security and well-being of the State, the prime minister seems to have overstayed his welcome in that office. Yes, Iran is important but so is the day to day life of the average Israeli and that's something he seems to have no interest in which is why the average Israeli will find themselves with an equally dysfunctional two-headed hydra in a few days.