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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cracks in Bibi's New Government?

Our Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had a very hard time putting together his latest coalition government. Even though he started his election campaign with what had appeared to be a winning hand, circumstances got in the way and he ended up needing an awful lot of MKs to make that "sixty plus" majority.

To make matters even more complicated, although his Likud has a large portion of MKs  from the Right, he filled his coalition with parties from the Left, starting with his Justice Minister Likud-Kadima deserter no extreme Left Tsipi Livni.  Not only won't she reform the Justice Ministry which many of his Likud MKs and voters would like, but she has been given unprecedented powers to "make peace" with the Arabs who want to destroy us.

To add to his difficulties is the two-headed alliance of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid (There's a Future) and Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home.)  Their parties similarities, or lack of,  remind me of the screwball comedy when Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger  played twins

Both those parties ended up with a surprisingly large amount of MKs, which Netanyahu desperately needed to make his coalition.  Lapid and Bennett, both first-time MKs succeeded in running ole Bibi ragged, and in the end he also gave them a lot of power.

Bennett has a lot of strong Jewish right wing nationalists among his Knesset faction and got the votes from the Right, which prevented Eldad and Ben-Ari's party from passing the threshold.  But now those voters are realizing that they've been had.  They aren't happy with Bennett's policies.
Participants were asked if they were pleased with the party's handling of the matter of electing a Zionist rabbi to the Chief Rabbinate, in view of the split within the party over the issue.
Only 29.6% answered in the positive, while the rest, 70.4%, said they were not pleased.
Regarding issues that concern the hesder yeshivas (yeshivas that combine army service and Torah study over a five year period), too, about two thirds of the voters were not happy with the way the Bayit Yehudi handled things, while the remaining third were pleased.
The austerity budget includes cuts to the hesder yeshiva budgets. In addition, there has been controversy over an initiative to lengthen the period of military service of hesder yeshiva students.
And Lapid's luster has already seriously tarnished with the release of his austerity budget which hits the lower and middle classes very hard.

Lapid has been using the threat to leave the coalition when he doesn't get his way, such as in pushing the draft of chareidim into the IDF and fining those who refuse.  The fact that his budget has cut the IDF's money, and there won't be enough to cover the expenses of more soldiers seems irrelevant to his ideology.  That's  a sign of a true Leftist- "Don't let facts get in the way of our ideology."

The only thing that Netanyahu may have in his favor is that his coalition partners may be too afraid that they'll get fewer seats in new elections.


goyisherebbe said...

Bibi has rapidly shown himself to be a self-aggrandizing, PR-driven follower rather than a leader. Ben-Gurion, who was wrong about a lot of things, was real enough and a strong enough leader to threaten to go home to Sde Boker if his red lines were crossed, and he carried out his threats a couple of times. He knew that he was not indispensible and wasn't afraid to take the chance. If Bibi would leave, no one would care.
As for your remark about Lapid's ignoring of the facts being the earmark of a leftist, that is not strictly true. It can also be the earmark of a self-interested opportunist, which is probably more correct. Painting everyone you don't like as an ideological opponent is inaccurate and ineffective.
Finally, the reason that Ben-Ari and Eldad didn't get into the Knesset was, as you say because people voted for Bayit Yehudi, fearing that Otzma LeYisrael would not get into the Knesset. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. But Eldad and Ben-Ari wanted to run in the Bayit Yehudi primaries and they were shut out. There should have been a totally open primary rather than former Ihud Leumi candidates being hand-picked. The Bayit Yehudi, probably accurately but not honestly, figured that if allowed run, Eldad and Ben-Ari would get on the list but take votes away from "moderate" voters who would perceive the list as too "extreme". We now have several parties including a national religious (or national traditional) one which have become supermarkets. That is convenient for pollsters and con artists like Bibi.

Batya said...

goyish, excellent point about the supermarket parties. Please blog more about it. Likud, Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi are all supermarkets which offer all and nothing all at once. All ideas and no principles.
Your entire comment should be expanded into an article.