Why Did the Israeli Left Drive Itself from Power?

Back when this coalition took office, optimists might have thought that with all efforts to make headway on the Palestinian issue having come up against a brick wall, the coalition’s right-left divisions did not have to loom too large and instead the parties could work together to tackle some economic and social issues.

But it was not to be. Over the past month or so in particular, Lapid and Livni have been slamming Netanyahu as openly and bitterly as if they were in the left-wing opposition instead of part of his government.

Among other things, they’ve been saying that the rather anodyne, probably not too consequential Jewish-state law is “racist” and marks the death knell of democracy; and that building apartments in parts of Jerusalem that the State Department, the New York Times, and the European Union believe should be Jew-free is an unforgivable “provocation” and destroys all hope of peace.

Lapid, as finance minister, has also been holding up funding for defense and insisting on a populist-socialist tax exemption on apartments that economists denounce as a destructive measure.

Strangest of all is that Lapid and Livni basically compelled Netanyahu to dissolve the government at a time when all polls showed that, if new elections were held, their own parties would plummet and Livni’s might disappear altogether.

The question, then, is if the coalition was able to creak along for a while, what has now led these two leftist faction leaders to politically self-destruct?

I see two main reasons for it, lying largely in the domain of the psychological.