Netanyahu’s New Mega-Coalition

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


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So Israel has a new mega-coalition of 94 out of 120 Knesset members. The news early Tuesday morning stunned a country that was already in elections mode for a presumed September 4 contest. No pundit foresaw the mega-coalition or had an inside track on it.

For both of the main protagonists in the deal—Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz—it makes eminent sense. While all polls showed Netanyahu easily emerging triumphant again from the putative elections, the deal saves him—and the country—the trouble and debilities of having to prepare for them, not to mention prolonged coalition negotiations once the results would have been in.

As for Mofaz—who wrested leadership of Kadima from Tzipi Livni in a primary less than two months ago—the polls showed his party plummeting, had elections been held, from its current 28 seats to about a dozen. While Kadima’s fate in the October 2013 (when Netanyahu’s four-year term runs out) elections will not necessarily be better, Mofaz—whom the deal makes deputy prime minister and member of the Forum of Eight (now nine) ministers, Israel’s highest policymaking body—gets a chance to make more of an impact on a public never particularly impressed with him.

But apart from Netanyahu and Mofaz, the deal—by creating a massive coalition immune to extortionate pressures by small parties—holds great potential for the country.

For two of Israel’s most intractable problems—refusal of military or national service by most of its growing ultra-Orthodox population, and dysfunctionalities of its parliamentary system—solutions are now eminently possible. In their joint press conference on Tuesday, Netanyahu and Mofaz pledged that the new coalition would tackle these issues without offering any specifics.

The problems are indeed complex. The draft exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox, which are contingent on yeshiva study, not only sow bitterness among the army-serving public but lead to large-scale unemployment among ultra-Orthodox men and a growing, worrisome drain on the economy. To date, ultra-Orthodox parties in fragile coalitions have prevented possible solutions. For the mega-coalition, though, the path appears clear to legislating some sort of mandatory service and remedying this longstanding malady.

This being linked, of course, to the issue of a parliamentary system that allows small parties of various—not just ultra-Orthodox—descriptions to proliferate and wield disproportionate influence. Again, the new coalition stands a real chance to cure the illness. Raising the electoral threshold and introducing regional elections are two often-mentioned ideas. Israel could emerge as a better-functioning, more representational democracy with much more stable governments.

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  • H&R_ Barack

    Way to call their bluff! Newspapers across the Arab world could not ignore Israel's political drama and the declaration of a unity government on Tuesday.

    Poll: Netanyahu gains strength after coalition deal

    Israel Hayom poll shows 39.8% of public favors Netanyahu as next PM; Labor's Yachimovich second with 11.3%, Lieberman takes biggest hit at 4.2% • 39.6% approve of unity government, 31.9% dissaprove. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_articl

    Arab newspapers interpret new Netanyahu-Mofaz alliance as preamble for war…….
    "Netanyahu is forming a war government," al-Quds al-Arabi's headline cried. (hahaha) http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/Cd

    Netanyahu ROCKS!

  • Anamah

    Bravo Israel…you are so exceptional country!!!

  • H&R_ Barack

    Netanyahu vs. Obama

    Beautiful Mind versus an Horse's Behind!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAlJ6erL-HY (no affiliation with site!)

    Obama's CV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ie-GXokze4&fe

  • Abisja

    H&R_Barack, talking of "Horse's Behind" – Old Mo and old Rastus are sitting in the sun near the stables. Something keeps on buzzing around Mo's head; Mo: "Hey Rastus, what's this here thing buzzing round my head?" Rastus: "Mo, you know the behind of a horse, that thing usually buzzes there. Mo: "Rastus, are you insinuating." Rastus: "No, errr Mo – but you can't fool no horse fly." So let's hope the American voters knows the behind of a horse come November!

  • crackerjack

    Netanyahu seems to believe that his former lunatic religious allies are willing to play by the rules of democracy and parliamentism. Apparently he has not learned the Rabin lesson. – You meddle with religion , then religion takes you hostage.

    These folks are on a divine mission, you get in their way and they kill you with a smile. The party has only just started.

    • Dr. John

      Actually, crackerjack, the vast majority of religious Jews are not Rabin killers, just as the vast majority of secular Americans are not Kennedy killers. Try to rein in your bigotry.

      • crackerjack

        Bibi's former radical playmates couldn't care a hoot about your "vast majority" and never have. Just wait and see.

        • stern

          crackerjack, wishing and hoping will not make it so.
          No matter how much you would like to see Israel descend into an Iranian-style mullohcracy, it ain't never gonna happen.

          but of course, you will continue to hate the Joos and think the worst of them and their country because, well, that's just who you are.

  • StephenD

    My only regret is Netanyahu isn't running for office here in America! Viva Israel!!

    • fiddler

      YEP!!

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Unless a miracle, occurs there will be,sooner or later, an ennormous conflict between the now
    islamic brotherhoods reigned arab countries, surrounding that tine Jewish state of Israel,you have to
    look through a magnifying glass on the map to find Israel, closed in by the arab countrys.
    The biggest treath is of course Iran. There will inevetably be a major war outbreak,and peace
    agreements have been tried since 1935 without results. So I say strike them now and strike them hard.
    The only other option is to surrender the state of Israel to the grand mufti of the midle east who reigns
    in Iran. By doing so you save the world of a complete destruction. ?? And a final exit of the Jewish people!
    No I think that even if there will be no Jew left in the world,because that is what they are aiming at,there
    will be a third world war in the make.And the change is it will be in favor of the muslims.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      The favor of evil only, unfortunate but inevitible, we pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and know
      that all dark forces in the World will come up against it there light will shine all the greater. People
      of the World must decide for Israel or Islamist monsters that would make slaves of everyone,
      for self preservation and freedom from the dark side everyone should suppot Israel in every
      way possible…………look to specific charities, Megan David Adom is mine……………William

  • Ain't No Dhimmi

    You can be sure that after Netanyahu publically embarassed Obama on television that

    Obama and his crew will expose Bibi's weakness when it suits them.

    Its not "if" its "when."

  • fiddler

    "No longer will the voices of disgruntled ex-Israeli officials, or New York Times headlines trumpeting supposed Israeli dissension on Iran, carry any weight."

    Yes, the "Gray Lady" ought to put her tattered shawl over her head. We can only hope for the continued irrelevancy of the NYT, who among others does not exist to inform, but to persuade. It left its lofty post years ago.

  • mrbean

    Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz have come to realize the they cannot count on the United States against Iran because of the leverage of China and Russia with this administration, including the RINOs in congress. It is obvious that there will be at least three more Islamic Theocracies – Egypt, Lybia, Yemen, and probably Syria within a year or two and they will form alliances with Iran.

  • dysgenic

    Satanic Jewish ideologies like Marxism and Zionism are the handmaidens of the global kingdom of Antichrist.

    • stern

      Your doctors are worried. Please check in with them as soon as possible – and TAKE YOUR MEDS!

      • WilliamJamesWard

        I just wonder how they get to the computers in the asylum, ………William

  • http://WWW.MEDIACRAPMATTERS.US ABUTOM

    ONLY ISRAEL WILL HELP ISRAEL SURVIVE. LEARN THIS LESSON BEFORE IT IS TAUGHT IN THE NEXT WAR. IF YOU HAVE TO STRIKE FIRST USE EVERY TOOL AT YOUR DISPOSAL. THE UN WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU GONE. THE NUKE FOOLS THINK THAT IF IRAN WIPES OUT ISRAEL NOT ONE PALESTINIAN WILL DIE. THE GEOGRAPHIC BED IS VERY SMALL . GOD BE WITH YOU HOUSE OF DAVID. http://animoto.com/play/4JIPyfQ96ZMjWC9Ya1jn4Q

  • DR.MUSIC

    When Israel punches through the Aswan with a 2 KT tac nuc and 50 cubic miles of Nile moving at 50-60 mph sweep through Cairo, those that survive will be treading water for Allah out in the Med beyond the ten mile marker.

    Islam is the only ‘Mythological tale at moon light’ that it is a crime to laugh during or after the tale.
    When China wants to bomb any part of Pakistan… India will allow it’s air-space to be used…. it’s common sense and why not ? It’s either nuclear weapons or islam. We have to choose. Without nuclear weapons islam will never be wiped out …and by wiped out i mean WIPED OUT !!! Only AFTER islam is WIPED OUT can we even think of a nuclear weapon free world. Look around you at these monkeys … can’t you see where they are taking us as a species ? islam is leading the planet to a non- stop blood bath …slowly and surely …and without nuclear weapons islam’s march will never be stopped.
    Someone has to start bombing the monkeys sometime …. i have a feeling that China will be the first to bite back on islam’s arse. …. then free for all….. we live in interesting times…. our generation will see the death of islam….but how it will happen will be worth watching. Intelligence has a way of waking up and crushing the moronic , however vicious and barbaric. The thing to actually wonder is how Mecca and Medina will be pulverised. How will we do it ? And which year? That will be the exact beginning of a new era of peace.
    i have a feeling somewhere around some table some people in high and right places are looking at this solution. And i have a feeling they compromise a lot of different people from all over the globe. Intelligence is Good. Intelligence is Cool. islam is neither. Hence islam will literally dissolve. Without mecca and medina there is no islam. Period.
    After islam is Irradicated we can think about nuclear disarmamment and all things peacefull and noble. Till then we have to wait . We have to. There is no option. Muslims want us all dead and we want to live…. got any brighter ideas?
    Cheers !!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Netayahu's move will silence some of the upcoming criticism when he acts against the ever
    growing threats to Israeli survial. It must be that he has filled Mofaz in on the present state
    of affairs and to stay out of government as critic during the upcoming conflict would be
    viewed as what it has in the past, unpatriotic and antithetical for the Kadima party.
    For those Israeli's who want to curry favor with Obama, well the bloom is off the rose
    and the Israeli Government must man up no matter how apoplectic Muillah Obama
    becomes. They must see that American voters will end the mistake in Washington
    for America's survival and that is what is on the table for Israel and America…..Survival.
    William

  • Jimi Belton

    My beloved pastor, Youssef, said in sermon, that if the Almighty was looking for good looks in a nation He would of chosen Egypt, as his Chosen Ones, But He chose instead BRAINS…..And Bibi has plenty, and has just out done a lot of anti semitics…I am sure 0zamb0 is smarting…