Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bibi's Newest Government-- Can it Last?

I guess that the whole world is asking that question, and here in Israel, that'll be the theme of many newscasts and editorials until the government implodes. Israel doesn't have a betting country like England where lots of money was made and lost betting on the sex of Will and Kate's second child and the names of that child. Once Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana's name was revealed the big bets were on today's British Elections.

Binyamin Netanyahu
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

I wonder if those betting places are also taking bets on how long Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition will last. All I can say is that I wouldn't buy tickets to travel abroad too far in advance, or I may miss voting, since we don't have absentee voting here in Israel. Two of my recent trips trips were timed to allow me to vote. Two and a half years ago I left just after voting, and this past visit I arrived home the day before elections.

Ironically, the last/final coalition agreement signed was with Bayit Yehudi's (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett, who in both his Knesset campaigns stressed his aim to be part of Netanyahu's government. It seems that is the way Netanyahu works. He first makes the most difficult of the potential partners sign. And lastly he signs with his most natural allies. Finally he divides whatever is left with his own Likud Party. In his previous coalition he started by pulling a shocker and signing up Likud-traitor Tsipi Livni as Justice Minister. That brought in her personal loyalists, but she ended up being the one to destroy his government from within.

This time, Bibi, again went for a former Likudnik with high ambitions, Moshe Kahlon, first and created an offer Kahlon couldn't resist. I wonder if Kahlon will pull a Livni... IMHO, the two parties that Netanyahu can rely on for loyalty are the chareidim and Bennett's. Chareidim won't sit with Yair Lapid, and the feeling is mutual. Last time he allowed Bennett to force him into accepting Lapid and persecuting the chareidim. That was a dual mistake for both Bibi and Bennett. Lapid worked in tandem with Livni, learning how to get away with disloyalty, until Bibi finally disbanded the coalition and declared new elections.

Another time bomb in this coalition is Aryeh Deri's Shas, which already has a track-record of disloyalty. Ex-con Deri was davka given Finance, which I blogged about before. It really turns my stomach.

Here's how it stands now:
  • Jewish Home: Chairman Naftali Bennett will be appointed Education Minister, while MKs Uri Ariel and Ayelet Shaked will be named Agricultural Minister and Justice Minister, respectively. Ariel will also control the Settlement Division and hold responsibility for implementing a program regulating Bedouins in the Negev. In addition, the party will choose a candidate for deputy defense minister.
  • Kulanu: Party chairman Moshe Kahlon will serve as Finance Minister as well as chairman of the Housing Cabinet. MK Yoav Galant will beappointed Housing Minister, while a third person, apparently Kahlon associate Avi Gabbay, will be appointed Environment Minister. 
  • Shas: Chairman Aryeh Deri will serve as Economy Minister, Negev and Galilee Development Minister, and possibly also Religious Affairs Minister, although this post may be given to another member of the party. In addition, Deri will appoint MK Yitzhak Cohen to head the Planning Administration within the Finance Ministry. Under Shas' agreement with Likud, which is subject to certain changes, Cohen may end up taking the post of Deputy Finance Minister. 
  • United Torah Judaism: MK Yaakov Litzman will serve as Deputy Health Minister, while MK Moshe Gafni will chair the Knesset's Finance Committee. (Arutz 7)

There's still plenty left for the Likud to fight over, but many fear that Bibi will pull a fast one and accede to President Ruby Rivlin's pressure and establish a "unity government" which give the plums to Herzog and leave pretty much nothing of value to the Likud.

Nu, what do you think? Are you betting?


NormanF said...

This is the first Likud-led government since 2001 that will have the Likud faction command a majority in the Cabinet.

Its major figures don't want to share that with Labor when they don't have to.

Coalition partners got pretty much everything they wanted.

I expect this government to last.

Batya said...

may it be good for Am Yisrael

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to Deri resigning over a sticky-fingers scandal.

Who's getting the Foreign Ministry?

Bayit Yehudi sounds OK, but how will Kahlon's Yoav Galant, the general who presided over the evacuation of Gaza, having the Housing Ministry effect construction in Gush Etzyion, Hevron, Beitar and Shomron?

Batya said...

Who knows...
But sometimes the least likely works out best, G-d willing

Sammy Finkelman said...

61-vote coalitions are more stable than before. For a government to fall a no-confidece vote requires 61 votes for an alternative prme Minister. No longer can a no confidence vote lead to new elections.

You can also get new elections if a budget fails to pass, but the new government has given itself, or has, quite some time to pass one.

Netanyahu has left the position of Foreign Minister vacant, and is seeking to expand the coalition.

Sammy Finkelman said...

That is a no confidence vote cannot directly lead to new elections. I suppose people could tactically vote for Herzog as Prime Minister.

Herzog says he will not join a coaliton with Netanyahu (but maybe an attack on Iran could change that)

One reason he may not want to do so that he is not saying would be tht his party joined the government, The Joint List, as the largest party outside the government, would become the leader of the opposition and entitled to security briefings.

That might not apply if he created a splitaway faction of just 3 or 4 members, with Labor still being larger than the Joint List and that's being looked into.