Israeli elections can be dramatic, and its five elections within four years have been full of political surprises and firsts, including the first time an independent Israeli Arab party joined a governing coalition. This series of new governments and the sometimes tumultuous process of forming them are part of Israel’s proud tradition as a boisterous and pluralistic democracy.
Yet the far-right government that will soon take power, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, marks a qualitative and alarming break with all the other governments in Israel’s 75-year history. While Netanyahu clearly has the support of the Israeli electorate, his coalition’s victory was narrow and cannot be seen as a broad mandate to make concessions to ultrareligious and ultranationalist parties that are putting the ideal of a democratic Jewish state in jeopardy.
This board has been a strong supporter of Israel and a two-state solution for many years, and we remain committed to that support. Antisemitism is on the rise around the globe, and at least some of the criticism of Israel is the result of such hatred.
While Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have long been moribund, the principle of someday achieving two states remains the bedrock of American and Israeli cooperation. Hopes for a Palestinian state have dimmed under the combined pressure of Israeli resistance and Palestinian corruption, ineptitude and internal divisions. Anything that undermines Israel’s democratic ideals — whether outright annexation of Jewish settlements or legalization of illegal settlements and outposts — would undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.
America’s support for Israel reflects our two countries’ respect for democratic ideals. President Biden and Mr. Netanyahu should do everything they can to reaffirm that commitment.
The New York Times