Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Just Don't Want to See How Sausages and Israeli Coalition Governments Are Formed

Seriously, it's like Bizarro world.  Tzipi Livni, who would criticize Bibi Netanyahu for just about every action under the sun, has become Bibi's first coalition partner.  She brings along MK Amir Peretz who quit Labor and joined Livni's Hatnuah simply because Labor wouldn't refuse to join any Netanyahu led government.  Then you have the people who are probably the most natural partners to Bibi and Likud (they sure got a lot of Likud voters because of this), Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home, who are playing hardball with Netanyahu and have so far refused to join the government.  As it stands now, if Bibi makes deals with the Haredi parties (Shas and UTJ) and Kadima, he will only be able to get to 57 out of 120 seats, short of what is needed to form a government.  If neither Labor, Yesh Atid nor Jewish Home sign up with the government, it just isn't clear what the next steps would be as there is really no alternative to a Netanyahu led government.  We could have to go through the entire election process again.  My guess is that eventually Jewish Home will have to buckle.  Imagine if there are new elections, a lot of the Likud voters who tried to be cute by voting Jewish Home, assuming that it would automatically join the government and tilt it towards the right, would simply go back to Likud.  Instead of helping govern Israel towards a more right wing direction, all Naftali Bennett will have achieved would be parliamentary chaos and the sabotage of a right wing government.  Jewish Home could easily go back to low-mid single digits.  Naftali Bennett better wake up and join the government before Bibi realizes all of this and decides that new elections are actually in his best interest.

Seriously, Israeli politics makes US politics look like bingo night at the JCC.

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