By Ray Fleming

As current British politics show, coalitions are difficult to manage. However, one expects them to last longer than a month or two, especially in a country which governs by them more often than not. Yet the coalition formed in Israel in mid-May between Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and the new leader of the Kadima Party Shauf Mofaz, has already collapsed. When Mr Mofaz agreed on a coalition he anticipated that there would be progress on new legislation making it compulsory for ultra-Orthodox Jews to undertake a spell of military service like the rest of the Jewish population and that there would also be progress towards a renewal of peace negotiations with the Palestinians. However, Mr Netanyahu has shown no inclination to give priority to either of these issues, or to a number of other matters of interest to Mr Mofaz.

Until elections next year Mr Netanyahu will now have to revert to his reliance on two or three small minority parties to help him command a majority in the Knesset. These parties include representatives of extreme political and religious views who insist on support for their policies in return for their votes. In the present turmoil in Syria, a close ally of Iran, it is essential that Israel's response is balanced and avoids louder calls for early military action against Iran because of its nuclear programme.

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