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Netanyahu announces agreement.
“I am a fool, but not a donkey!” Knesset Speaker Rivlin after being deposed by Netanyahu
Netanyahu Announces New Government
On March 14, 2013, Netanyahu announced in the Knesset to his party members that his coalitional negotiations ended. In the following days, Israel’s new government will be voted by the Knesset. His face in the picture below tells the entire story.
Netanyahu will be the next Prime Minister, but he lost the elections and the coalitional negotiations. The settlers became the principal winners. Even if his party shows restraint and doesn’t carry out a putsch against him, this is probably the last government to be led by Bibi; he should never have chosen a nickname that means (also) “my-sewage.” It became a self-fulfilling Pygmalion prophecy.
As described in Rookies Send Netanyahu back to School, the new coalition is simple. Four parties, namely Netanyahu’s Likud (31 seats), Lapid’s Yesh Atid (19), Bennet’s Jewish Home (12) and Livni’s Hatnua (6) have agreed on a government that on paper is stable with a majority of 68 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats. Things may change a bit until the vote; Lieutenant General Mofaz may join Kadima’s 2 seats at the last moment. Yet, the Lapid-Bennet early agreement imposed impossible conditions on Netanyahu. Likud lost key ministries, settlers won key positions, and Lapid is about to change the elections rules so that he may become theleader of the largest party in the next Knesset. The main losers are already shouting and providing unforgettable quotes.
“I am a fool, but not a donkey!”
The undeniable title of this section was provided by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin after he learned that Netanyahu was deposing him from his cherished position, which is stronger than many government ministries. He was dismissed for being too popular and thus a threat to a weak Bibi. There are several versions of an unpleasant struggle between Netanyahu and Rivlin. The latter is free now to lead Likud’s inner opposition to Netanyahu. Rivlin, a lawyer, is considered and valued for playing by the rules; Netanyahu should expect a red-tape nightmare. After deposed, Rivlin refused to meet Netanyahu, and voted against the promotion of Yuli Edelstein to Knesset Speaker. “I am a fool, but not a donkey!” He stated, after abstaining in the vote. “I won’t vote against myself,” he added.
Netanyahu is being forced to take other painful decisions. He renounced to the Ministry of Education, a central position. He is holding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until his main ally, Avigdor Lieberman, ends the legal process against him. Miraculously, he managed to keep the Ministry of Defense, which will be given to Moshe Ya’alon. A former IDF Chief, he has already proven to be a dangerous fool. Overall, Netanyahu kept for his party 15 government positions. Since he has 31 Knesset Members, 16 people will be disappointed. Some of them will join Rivlin’s faction. This is the core of a possible Night of the Long Knives played against Netanyahu in the not so far future.
Netanyahu’s New Coalition. Livni, Bennet, and Lapid sitting on his head.
“If you want to bomb, tell me”
This odd quote was attributed to Bennett, who requested a hint from Lapid during the final stages of the negotiations. Both won; Lapid’s party will hold the Finances and Education Ministries, Bennett will be the Trade and Economy Minister, get the strategic Knesset’s Finances Committee for his party as well as the Ministry of Construction.
Bennet, leader of Zionist-Religious The Jewish Home, and thus represents many of the settlers, got control of the power-centers controlling the Jewish-settling of the West Bank. Lapid imposed on the coalitional agreement a clausule that will double the threshold to the Knesset to 4%. This is crucial; if implemented all the small parties will disappear. Certain polls show that under this rules, Lapid will become the country’s next leader.
He also forced Netanyahu to diminish the number of ministers from 30 to 18 plus four deputy-ministers, despite his early demand of an overall limit of 18. There would be no more ministers-without-portfolio. Only a majority of 65 MKs will be able to topple the government and Knesset Members who split from their factions will not be eligible for funds allocated to political parties. Lapid imposed a tighter and much stronger government; a dictatorship is being created.
The Left is already crying murder, claiming that this is a Settler Government. Zehava Galon, the leader of Meretz said that Settlers “have secured their overwhelming benefits at the expense of general society.” Dov Khenin, from Hadash, the Communist party, said, “This is a dangerous government. A new alliance has been created between the settlers and the oligarchy of the wealthy.”
The Sephardic Haredi party Shas (11 seats) and the Ashkenazi Haredi-Hasidic party United Torah Judaism (7 seats) were forced out of the next coalition by anti-religious Lapid. Meir Porush, from United Torah Judaism, said, “This is a puppets-government that won’t last,” he explained that the government would be led by Lapid since Netanyahu’s days are over. Netanyahu probably agrees with him. These two Ultra-Orthodox parties are the main losers because Lapid and Bennet imposed a Haredi Draft clause on Netanyahu. The draft will not change the current situation dramatically.
The outline for an “equal share of the national burden,” as Haredi Draft is called by secular-Jews, states that Ultra-Orthodox recruits aged 21 and under will have the option of deferring their army service. They will later be divided into three categories: Those who serve in the army; those who will perform national service and those who are classified as “persistent” yeshiva students.
Each year, 1,800 “diligent” yeshiva students will be eligible to receive a special grant, but yeshiva students between the ages of 21 and 26 who will discontinue their studies after receiving an exemption from army service will be fined. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis recently declared that such a law must not be obeyed. As Israel teaches regarding the Nazi Regime, illegitimate laws must be disobeyed.
A few days from now, the oddest Israeli government would be sworn, following the most unusual negotiation process the Knesset has ever witnessed. A ruling Prime Minister, who heads the largest party, found himself forced to obey an alliance of the meek, which in the Israeli reality, means the settlers and the oligarchy of the wealthy. It is impossible to end this article without warning Germany of the most unbelievable condition demanded by Lapid, he wants to increase financial support to Holocaust survivors.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.