At this moment, the “Government of National Unity” has been in office here in Jerusalem for almost a year and a half. It almost came apart in April, and whether it will still be in existence by the time this is published, nobody knows. When October comes, will Shimon Peres step down and Yitshak Shamir pick up the crown as envisaged in the “rotation” agreement of 1984? Only the most foolhardy are ready to bet their hard-earned money (now in “new” and stable shekels) one way or the other.
What is remarkable is how fast and how far the mood of the country (something quite distinct from the cacophony of conflicting beliefs) has changed under this regime. Coalition politics, the necessity to plaster over basic ideological negations, the succession of last-minute compromises after haggling through the night, the fact that the government has somehow, incredibly, been able to function—all have had the effect of reducing tensions to an extent that could hardly have been imagined a year or two ago....
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