Just so you know how we got here: if not for Avigdor’s envy and hatred of Netanyahu, we would not be here.
To recall, Israel held general elections on April 9. Netanyahu and his Likud Party won a commanding mandate to form a governing coalition. Likud garnered 35 seats in Israel’s 120-member Knesset. Blue and White, the center-left party that competed against Likud, also won 35 seats, with slightly fewer votes. But overall, the center-right and right-wing parties won 55 percent of the vote, to the center-left and left’s 36 percent. The remainder of the vote went to Arab parties that traditionally have refused to join any governing coalition.
Despite the right/center-right’s commanding electoral victory, two obstacles blocked Netanyahu from forming a coalition government and compelled him to call for new elections.
First, Avigdor Liberman, Netanyahu’s former defense minister and the head of the small Israel Beitenu party, refused to join the coalition. Liberman’s party won five seats in April and so gave Netanyahu’s coalition a potential majority of 65 seats out of 120. By refusing to join the coalition, Liberman prevented Netanyahu from forming a governing majority.
Liberman insisted that his refusal to join Netanyahu’s government owed to his opposition to the ultra-Orthodox parties that form the core of the Likud’s natural coalition partners. But neither the general public nor the Israeli commentariat believed his claims. The two men have a thirty-year relationship that has known its ups and downs. Most Israelis believe that Liberman was motivated by hatred of Netanyahu.
Once it was clear that the election results gave Liberman the power to block Netanyahu from forming a government, Liberman was in a position to dictate his terms for joining the coalition. Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox parties were willing to accept his demands. The fact that Liberman still refused to make a deal demonstrated that his desire to destroy Netanyahu politically outweighed rational political calculations.
(More from Glick here)
Caroline Glick today on Facebook.
I need to point out a basic fact about the election results which the US media, in particular, is missing.
By forming a unified political bloc of 55 Knesset members with the Likud’s satellite parties, Netanyahu has created a situation where he is the only possible prime minister. Either the Blue and White Party — or one of its factions — joins him, or Amir Peretz and Orly Levy bring the Labor party in, or Israel goes to new elections. Those are the only options.
In other words, it’s either going to be Netanyahu or elections. It’s up to Gantz, and Peretz.
I’ll say more. The balance of power is still very much on the Right. The Right has 55 seats. The Left has 44. Liberman is nothing but a Bibi hater. And the Arab parties are so extreme that they cannot be considered for any governing coalition.
(Lest anyone be tempted by the Washington Post’s attempt to claim Israel is racist because Israelis don’t want to share power with the Arab parties, the fact is that there is not one Arab party that accepts Israel’s right to exist. There were Arab politicians elected yesterday that have written odes to terrorist murderers on the Facebook pages. Arab lawmakers were elected that have met with terror kingpins. Arab lawmakers routinely support the Palestinian war against Israel and express support for Hamas.
It is not racist for Israelis not to want Hamas supporters and champions of terrorist murderers in the Israeli government or receiving security briefings from the military and intelligence services. It is rational.
The deadlock in Israel is electoral, not ideological. Liberman’s defection from the Right has denied it a governing majority. But it is still very much the majority in Israel. And the vast majority of Jewish lawmakers in the Knesset support applying Israeli law over the Jordan Valley as Netanyahu suggested. A large majority (55-44) of Jewish lawmakers also support applying Israeli law to other parts of Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu is the only person capable of forming a government. It remains to be seen if that will happen, but Gantz cannot form a government. And he is slowly coming to terms with this unalterable reality.
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