Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Will Lieberman Save Olmert?
Avigdor Lieberman has ambitions to be Israel's Prime Minister, and he wants to join the Olmert government. Olmert needs him and sent Shas party chairman MK Eli Yishai to make a deal. Lieberman has his conditions, and Olmert's partners have theirs, and not everything fits all that well.
The coalition partner that would want Lieberman the most is Shas, therefore it's Yishai who was given the job.
To make matters more interesting, one of the mainstays of Lieberman's platform because of his Russian supporters is "civil marriage." A sizeable percentage of the Russian aliyah isn't Jewish, and the intermarriage continues here in Israel. Not only that, but many of the Jewish immigrants from Russia are strictly secular and don't want to bother with any religious laws, including marriage.
Putting together a larger coalition will be a very challenging puzzle for Olmert, but he can pull it off, if the other parties want to join, since it's really a matter of desires, יצר, "yeitzer," as it's called in Hebrew.
They want their piece of the pie, and they'll find a way to rationalize any agreement.
And that's why no matter how far the government goes from the promises it has made, it's not going to fall so quickly. None of those politicians want to give the people a chance to vote others into power.
It's like "bad news and good news."
Bad news, since we're stuck with Olmert for another few years.
Good news, since there's nobody worth voting for.