By Amotz Asa-El, Middle Israel Today—
FRANKLIN Roosevelt’s presidency was hardly one hour old when he told an embattled American nation: “I am prepared, under my constitutional duty, to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require.”
And so, with the family Bible (in Dutch) on which he swore the oath of allegiance still nearby, and with the outgoing president at his side, Roosevelt announced moves he was determined to make on three fronts: work, farming and banking.
On labor, he said he would “put people to work… by direct recruiting by the government itself.” On farming, he said he would “endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.” On banking, he said, “There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments.” Finally, he said he would shortly present to Congress a detailed plan of action.
The roadmap thus displayed, action followed swiftly, with 76 laws passed, multiple agencies established, and a new spirit of hope instilled during the new presidency’s first 100 days. With his “New Deal” as effective as it soon proved, the term “first 100 days” became a yardstick and a quest for any government expected to herald big change.
Fortunately, Israel’s 36th government will not face anything quite like millions of citizens who lost their jobs, savings, dignity and hope. The new government will, however, also face “a stricken nation,” and it too will have to deliver action during its first 100 days, besides nurturing the tolerance, pluralism and culture of dialogue that for Netanyahu et al were a laughingstock at best, anathema at worst.
AMERICA WAS stricken economically when FDR reached its helm. Israel is stricken politically as it grapples with a constitutional crisis whose severity cannot be exaggerated. That is why the new government’s first 100 days should see the introduction and passage of six measures that will treat different aspects of this malaise.
● The first should be the passage of a two-year budget.
This is almost banal – passing a budget is the first thing any government should do – but the fact is that over the past two years Israel’s stewards passed no budget, working instead on the last budget’s inertia. Passing a new budget would signal to everyone – the public, the markets, and above all the politicians – that order is being restored. A two-year budget will add a sense of stability and continuity. Continue Reading….