Netanyahu has done the deal. We have a 61, er, strong, coalition government. Onwards.
Except that, as David Horovitz points out at the Times of Israel, this new government isn’t an improvement over the last one.
Previously, Netanyahu went to the country, calling for elections saying:
“You, the citizens of Israel, deserve a new, better, more stable government, a broad-based government that can govern.”
And now he points out:
The 61-strong coalition Netanyahu finalized 90-minutes before his time ran out on Wednesday night can be called many things. Narrow, fragile, and right-wing-Orthodox come readily to mind. “Stable” and “broad-based” it certainly isn’t.
I suppose, while it may not be better, at least it is new!
Briefly, the key points are as follows:
- Whatever the real reason for calling the election, Bibi blundered. He may still be in power, but he is in a worse position.
- In theory, he could improve matters by adding to the coalition. But Yesh Atid will not (in my opinion, rightly) tolerate the retrograde policies of Shas or United Torah Judaism., so they are not joining. And Labor are unlikely to do a complete about turn given their voters are those who expressly did not want Bibi in power. In short, it’s not getting better.
- A single seat majority means the whole edifice could be brought down by one or two rebels on some presently unknown issue. The government’s chances of a long term in power do not look good.
- The oft criticized Lieberman deserves credit for sticking to (at least some of) his principles. While Bennett was always intended to be a Likud partner, it is a poor show that they his party will sit with those who will roll back the efforts to “share the burden”.
- Bibi is not daft, and can see all of this. You may be assured that at least part of his thoughts and planning are already directed towards the next elections. If – when – they happen, do not rule out Bibi. Why? The last results show that, by a wide margin, Bibi is still the favored candidate to lead the country. Until there is a realistic alternative, future governments may just be a variation on the theme we are faced with today.