Cliff Savren reports for the Cleveland Jewish News on Israel and the Middle East from Ra’aana, Israel.

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Israel has changed tremendously in the 20 years since I moved here. A lot of the change has been the stuff of the daily news here, including three Knesset elections in less than a year, but other developments haven’t been noticeable at first and then there was a tipping point, when they seemed to burst into the forefront, even though they developed gradually.

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Israel has changed tremendously in the 20 years since I moved here. A lot of the change has been the stuff of the daily news here, including three Knesset elections in less than a year, but other developments haven’t been noticeable at first and then there was a tipping point, when they seemed to burst into the forefront, even though they developed gradually.

Israel’s third Knesset election in a year, on March 2, is less than two weeks away. It’s difficultto have election fever under such circumstances. It’s not called a fever when it persists for a year. Critics of Israel’s electoral system would call it a chronic disease rather than a fever, but it’s not that either.

I don’t think I was ever been in a room with so many brilliant people. It happened last week at a conference in Jerusalem, sponsored by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. I felt like a fly on the wall listening to the deliberations because the audience at the two-day event was mostly made up of other conference speakers.

On Nov. 21, Israel Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced the filing of criminal charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three government corruption cases. Never has a sitting Israeli prime minister been indicted. If he is convicted of bribery, he would almost certainly go to jail.

From my first visit to Israel as a teenager, one of the things that amazed me most was that a Jewish state had been created in which Hebrew was revived as a spoken language after more than 2,000 years. Even though I have now lived in Israel for more than 20 years, the revival of Hebrew is still a source of pleasure. Not only do I live much of my life in Hebrew but my children are perfectly bilingual, speaking fluent Hebrew – and unaccented English (with an almost genuine Cleveland accent).

It’s going to be awhile before Israel has a new government, but in the meantime, there is a lot of political drama on the Israeli political scene. Last month’s election produced a parliament with 10 party factions. It reflects the full diversity of the country, including seven seats held by parties on the far right and 13 Arab party seats. But neither leader of the two largest parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu’s Likud nor Benny Gantz’s Blue and White can form a government with other parties deemed their natural political allies.