|Political Chaos, my 52frames photo from Chaos album, week 44, 2022|
Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu, longtime head of the Likud party, had gathered a number of ambitious political parties to campaign as one block calling themselves the "Right" wing.
The chareidi parties are his veteran coalition partners, though "Right" isn't how any honest political expert would label them. Actually, the Likud, which does call itself "Right" is more Center-Left when in power.
But the bloc that Bibi orchestrated of truly Right and uncompromisingly patriotic religious parties of Smutrich and Ben-Gvir was the key to his electoral plan. Bibi had hoped to be able to control them, but they're turning out to be more of a Frankenstein.
Smutrich and Ben-Gvir know very well that many in the Israeli public, even those who didn't vote for them, support or sympathize with their views. It's very much like an Israeli version of Ronnie Reagan's "silent majority." They also know that if Bibi dumps them and makes a desperate deal with Ganz or Lapid, he'd lose the trust/votes of veteran Likud voters. Don't take the media too seriously, as in the rest of the world-- it's Leftist. A majority of Israelis are Right and religiously traditional or religious. That's why Bibi crafted his campaign in that direction and succeeded, though I'm not sure why he sabotaged Ayelet Shaked after approving her.
It seems like these recent elections were the easy part for Netanyahu; coalition negotiations are a very public nightmare. Likud MKs should be used to getting the scraps of what's left after Bibi gives the goodies to those he needs on his team. I wonder if Bibi was surprised at the toughness of Smutrich and Ben-Gvir while haggling over ministries. He may have thought of them as inexperienced, but they certainly aren't. And their followers expect kavod, honor.
At this point, Bibi may almost have all the pieces put together with the exception of the Chareidim and his own people. No doubt the success of Smutrich & Ben-Gvir may embolden the chareidim to make more demands. Nobody wants to be a "sucker."
So far Smutrich and Ben-Gvir haven't gotten in the way of chareidi parties, but considering the amount of rabbis and yeshiva students in their camp it's only a matter of time.
Think about it-- If this is the courtship, what type of marriage will they have? Ironically the Bennet-Lapid government was touted as a coalition of very different parties looking to work together for the sake of the country, and it lasted over a year. It would have lasted longer except for Bibi's dirty tricks.