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.

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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.

● The second act should be the establishment of a judiciary commission of inquiry for April’s Mount Meron stampede.

If anyone needed proof of this commission’s urgency, the ultra-Orthodox parties’ lawmakers supplied it amply in the hysterical press conference they held Tuesday.
“Israel’s entire Jewish character is at risk!” howled United Torah Judaism’s Ya’acov Litzman. “Judaism’s tenets are being thrown into the dustbin,” warned the man who faces charges for obstructing a sex-abuse suspect’s extradition to Australia, but still has the gall to tell Naftali Bennett, “You can remove your skullcap.”
Shas leader Arye Deri was even more alarmist. “Bennett’s government will destroy the Sabbath,” bewailed the convicted bribe-taker.
The loudness was effective, and the message came across: They are scared. They know an inquiry is on its way, and they know it will expose their idea of leadership as a celebration of deceit, manipulation and abuse; that an impartial report might lay bare the corrupt deal they struck with successive governments, and thus underscore ultra-Orthodox politics’ role in the derailment of Israeli governance.

● The third act should be the beginning of a judicial reform.

As this column has argued over the years, relations between Israel’s judicial, legislative and executive branches have become strained not because of the Right-Left chasm, and not only because of personality clashes, but because Israel has never held a constitutional convention.
The work of such a convention will be explosive and must therefore involve everyone and last years, certainly not 100 days. However, the new government can and must set it in motion. This should be launched by splitting the attorney-general’s duties so one person will head the prosecution and another will serve as the government’s legal counsel.
At the same time, the new justice minister should announce a deadline by which he will suggest for the government’s approval a forum of jurists, academics, politicians, clergy and literati that will be led by President-elect Isaac Herzog, meet regularly for two years, and define relations between the branches.

● The fourth act should be the announcement of a master plan for overhauling the public transit system.

Yes, much has been done on this front during the Netanyahu years, most notably the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv fast train. However, traffic jams remain the national plague, and no one can show a nationwide schedule for the completion of light and heavy railway systems, including milestones and deadlines.
Presenting such an integrated plan will impress the public, motivate the ministers and make them focus on solving a domestic problem about which there is no ideological controversy, only political lethargy and administrative chaos.

● The fifth act should be the establishment of an agricultural police.

Last year alone there were reportedly 2,172 incidents of agricultural crime, mostly theft of equipment, livestock and crops collectively worth an estimated NIS 23.5 million, 10% more than the previous year. Like the Mount Meron disaster, it is part of the anarchism that the outgoing government spawned and the public cannot bear.

● The sixth and last should be the imposition of term limits.

The Netanyahu years have shown how an overextended incumbency can corrupt, and why our prophets were so appalled by the royal idea. Limiting premierships to eight consecutive years is therefore imperative, and can also be a fitting capstone for the new government’s first 100 days.
Amotz Asa-El’s bestselling Mitzad Ha’ivelet Ha’yehudi (The Jewish March of Folly, Yediot Sefarim, 2019), is a revisionist history of the Jewish people’s leadership from antiquity to modernity. www.MiddleIsrael.net