An attempt is made to share the truth regarding issues concerning Israel and her right to exist as a Jewish nation. This blog has expanded to present information about radical Islam and its potential impact upon Israel and the West. Yes, I do mix in a bit of opinion from time to time.
Without doubt, many Israelis
share my disgust as they observe the deceitful and cynical machinations
of those we elected to represent us in the Knesset.
Understandably, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu was disappointed with the dramatic erosion in support
of Likud-Beiteinu at the recent elections. Yet he remained the
unchallenged leader of the nation and was uniquely positioned to create a
broad coalition which could have enjoyed the support of the vast
majority of the nation.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid seemed an
obvious partner. Contrary to depiction by much of the media, Lapid is
no leftist and is committed to an undivided Jerusalem and retention of
the major settlement blocs, including Ariel. His parliamentary team of
newcomers was far superior to the prevailing Knesset members, many of
whom were elected through corrupt and dubious primaries.
To bring Yesh Atid into the
government, all that was required was a formula ensuring that the
ultra-orthodox “share the burden” in terms of the draft or national
service and become productively engaged in the workforce rather than
subsisting on welfare. Lapid’s proposal on the draft was a graduated
increase of conscripts over a five year period with exemptions for a
limited number who could remain in full-time Torah study. Had Netanyahu
moved in this direction, he would have enjoyed the enthusiastic support
of most of the nation.
Instead, he suggested an
essentially cosmetic arrangement which imposed no limit to the number of
haredi exemptions – a proposal which Lapid refused to accept.
humiliated his “natural” partner Naftali Bennett, head of Bayit Yehudi,
meeting with him only after having consulted with every other party and
only after Bennett had made a public apology over an insensitive but
harmless remark about Netanyahu’s wife during the election season.
Bennett also rejected
Netanyahu’s meager proposal to encourage the haredi draft and as a
consequence, despite considerable divergence on other issues, both he
and Lapid agreed not to join the government until the conscription issue
In an effort to split the Bayit
Yehudi-Yesh Atid nexus, Likud released a series of hostile remarks,
ballooning out of proportion Lapid’s foolish aside about seeing himself
as a potential prime minister, and ironically accusing both parties of
being selfish and disregarding the national interest.
Netanyahu then extended an offer
to Bayit Yehudi, initially via the media, to separate from Yesh Atid
and become a foundation member of the new government.
When this failed, in lieu of
seeking to negotiate a solution to the draft with his natural allies,
Netanyahu stunned the nation by announcing that that Hatnuah, the six
seat party of failed politician Tzipi Livni, had become the first member
of his proposed new government.
Livni had been Netanyahu’s most
vicious and unrelenting adversary over the past four years, repeatedly
describing him as a charlatan and a devious opponent of peace. Prior to
the elections, she had sought to persuade former PM Ehud Olmert to join
her party. Subsequently, she tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Yesh
Atid and the Labor Party to unite with her in a commitment not to
partake in a government led by Netanyahu. The current hypocritical
exchanges of political love between Tzipi Livni and Aryeh Deri of Shas
serve to highlight the depths to which Livni was willing to stoop to
make a deal.
From his side, Netanyahu who had
explicitly vowed that Livni would never hold a position related to the
peace process in his government, in addition to allotting her the
Justice Ministry, appointed her leader of the government team to handle
peace negotiations with the Palestinians. He even expressed a belief
that she would revive the peace process.
As a climax to this brazen
breach of undertakings, Livni’s number three, Amir Peretz, who had
defected from the Labor Party because Shelley Yachimovitch was reluctant
to unconditionally guarantee not to join a Netanyahu government, was
mooted to be appointed Minister for the Environment.
Netanyahu’s impending coalition
partners are likely to be the two haredi parties and the two-member
Kadima party headed by Shaul Mofaz.
He will be gambling that Bayit
Yehudi would oblige Bennett to terminate his alliance with Lapid and
join the government. But if this fails to eventuate, he would remain
with only 57 members, insufficient to form a government. His final
fallback position would be to seduce Labor to join his government, which
if realized, would result in the ultimate Alice in Wonderland
Netanyahu may reassure himself
that due to the intransigency of the Palestinians, Livni’s negotiating
role would be meaningless. He may also correctly anticipate that Livni
would fulfill the role of Ehud Barak in the previous government and act
as a fig leaf to those internationally who distrust him.
But he could have achieved the
same result by cooperating with Lapid, a much more natural and
convincing ally, and provided Livni with a minor role or relegated her
to the opposition.
Even if he cobbles the required
numbers to create a government, its survival would be dependent on the
ongoing support of Livni, Bayit Yehudi and the haredim and it would be
unlikely to survive long.
At ensuing polls, Israelis,
already contemptuous of their politicians, will have been further
repulsed by the manner in which Netanyahu dumped his natural allies and
engaged in such crass political expediency. Voters are also likely to
display their rage at Netanyahu for his failure to have used this unique
opportunity to resolve the long festering haredi issue. Likud in such
an election could well encounter a similar fate as Kadima.
The sad aspect of this is that
despite the intense media demonization of Netanyahu – of which the
hysteria over his ice cream budget is merely the latest example – his
previous four-year term of office was, by and large, successful and he
displayed genuine leadership qualities.
He withstood the Obama
onslaughts whilst retaining support of the U.S. Congress and American
public. He singlehandedly transformed the Iranian nuclear threat into a
global issue. And despite failure in the peace talks – entirely due to
the Palestinian refusal to negotiate without preconditions – the level
of terrorist activity during his term was at its lowest level since the
But over the past six months
each of Netanyahu’s pre-electoral strategies has backfired. Time is now
running out and if he continues in this manner, Yesh Atid could end up
in the opposition. Should that happen and should the haredi imbroglio
remain unresolved, Netanyahu’s legacy will be shattered. Even more
critical, our nation will lack an effective government during these
crucial times and we would soon face another round of elections which
may result in the creation of a center left government for which
Netanyahu would be entirely responsible.
The die is not yet cast. Our
Prime Minister should immediately resume negotiations with Yesh Atid and
Bayit Yehudi to create a broad national government which will enjoy the
support of the vast majority of the nation and be enabled to
effectively deal with the global and domestic issues facing us and act
speedily in preperation for the impending visit to Israel of President