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Bibi’s Back – Deal reached for Netanyahu to serve as Prime Minister in new unity government

Bibi’s Back – Deal reached for Netanyahu to serve as Prime Minister in new unity government

“Bibi always wins. The political ‘wizard,’ as Netanyahu is often nicknamed, has done it again.”

The magician pulls another rabbit out of his hat.

The last we checked, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell just short in his effort to build a ruling coalition after the third election in a year ended in stalemate again. Rival Benny Gantz’ Blue and White coalition was given the nod to try to form a government, but as we reported, that was unlikely, Bye-Bye Bibi, hello Prime Minister Benny Gantz? (maybe, maybe not):

Last time we checked, the dysfunctional Israeli political system had just completed its third attempt in a year to elect a Prime Minister.

Based on the exit polls, it appeared that Bibi Netanyahu would be the next Prime Minster, with his Likud Party and other religious and right-wing parties obtaining a majority.

But, when the actual votes were counted, Bibi and his coalition fell 3 seats short of the needed 61 seat majority in the Knesset.

The Blue-and-White Party leader, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, has cobbled together a potential majority coalition recommending him for Prime Minister, after Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, leader of a secular party and someone who hates Netanyahu and his religious party supporters, threw his support to Gantz. Based on that, Gantz gets the first shot at forming a government….

This would be a minority government, because not all parties would be part of the government even if they recommended Gantz for Prime Minister.

But there’s a big “but” here. Even with Liberman, Gantz gets to 61 only with the support of the Joint List of Israeli Arab parties, at least some of whom call for the destruction of Israel and include Knesset members who glorify terrorists. And that means Gantz may lose some of those 61 seats for his coalition, as Yoram Hazony tweeted:

President asked Gantz to form a government—something it seems he cannot do.

He’s got 61 (including the anti-Zionist Joint List, without Orly Levi). But Hauser and Hendel (Blue-White) say they won’t go in with the anti-Zionist Joint List.

So Gantz has 59.

Which is nothing.

And so it came to be. Deadlock again.

And amid deadlock, a fight with the Israeli Supreme Court, with Netanyahu’s ally refusing to call the Knesset into session, and then relinguishing his position as Speaker of the Knesset rather than comply with the Court order. In his place, Gantz was elected Speaker, and then dropped a bombshell, his party was breaking up the Blue and White coalition and joining with Nethanyahu’s Likud in a unity government with Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

In a dramatic turn of events, the Blue and White Party that served as the alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2 election, broke up on Thursday after party head Benny Gantz decided to enter Netanyahu’s government.

The three parties that made up Blue and White – Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem – all went in different directions. Israel Resilience is joining the government, Lapid will head the opposition and Telem will split up, with Ya’alon on the outside and divided….

There will be a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz. Netanyahu’s allies will start off as finance minister and Knesset speaker, with outgoing speaker Yuli Edelstein expected to return to the role. Gantz will reportedly serve as defense minister, MK Gabi Ashkenzi foreign minister and many other MKs from Israel Resilience will be ministers. The sensitive Justice portfolio will go to the party despite prior denials. Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett is also a candidate to remain defense minister or to possibly serve as finance minister. Israel Katz is another candidate for the finance portfolio.

The split happened after Gantz decided that he would be the candidate for interim speaker of the Knesset to facilitate progress in coalition talks with Likud. Appointing Gantz as speaker gave time for the talks to proceed.

The Times of Israel adds:

The coalition is likely to constitute 78-79 MKs — Likud, Gantz’s Israel Resilience, Labor, Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism — according to Channel 12 (although other reports indicated Labor’s inclusion was not certain.) That would leave Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Ya’alon’s Telem, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, Meretz and the mainly Arab Joint List in the opposition. However, various other fluctuations are deemed possible, with Telem’s Hendel and Hauser, for instance, possibly joining the coalition if this is permissible under Knesset laws…

Anshel Pfeffer at the far-left Haaretz says Gantz surrendered:

Benny Gantz is tired. This isn’t what he signed up for when he first launched his campaign and political career fourteen months and three elections ago. This was time spent in unending electioneering, but, more than anything, what sapped his energy was the relentless smear campaign orchestrated by Benjamin Netanyahu….

How can Gantz give up now? People ask. How can he give in to the man who smeared him so viciously? The truth is that Gantz, while remaining a fierce critic of Netanyahu’s conduct, does not share what many of his now former partners in Kahol Lavan have, a burning hatred of the man. He led the campaign to replace Netanyahu over the past fourteen months, but it was never personal for him. As IDF chief of staff, Gantz had a relatively harmonious relationship with Netanyahu. Unlike two other member’s of Kahol Lavan’s “cockpit” – Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon – he wasn’t summarily tossed out of a job by Netanyahu.

Lahav Harkov, a Jerusalem Post reporter, summed it all up — Bibi always wins:

English soccer player Gary Lineker once famously said “football is a simple game – 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” More than one political commentator tweeted on Thursday afternoon that Israeli politics is a simple game and, you play for 90 minutes and Bibi always wins.

The political “wizard,” as Netanyahu is often nicknamed, has done it again, and this time he has the coronavirus to thank for putting is political career on a respirator that could keep it alive for years to come, even when the crisis passes.

So will Netanyahu actually step aside in September 2021?

If you said Yes, you must be new around here.


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2smartforlibs | March 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm

And worldwide the Globalist gasp for breath.

A good piece of news for a change from this lock down.

I believe Bibi is the right man for the job. He is needed to lead Israel in these trying times.

    My2centshere in reply to oldgoat36. | March 26, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Now let’s hope that Trump does the same here and we will be led through these trying times. Many times I’ve worried that the secular left in both countries are working overtime to remove both men.

Israeli politics make my brain hurt. I read this and the last article twice and I still don’t really understand any of it.

    nicklevi86 in reply to labrat. | March 26, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Aren’t you glad we don’t have a parliamentary system?

      that is the real takeaway
      – parliamentary systems are unstable
      – coupled with multiple small parties
      – which tend toward the extreme

      Yet that is what the dems/leftists want
      – the use of impeachment saps the stability of our system
      – the Soros supported [truth]Squad minority of the dem party
      – form the basis for a split party [multiple parties]

      Yet the GOP is not immune
      – fortunately Reagan saw the fault
      – he did not want a third party but a revigorated GOP

        mailman in reply to Dr P. | March 27, 2020 at 11:10 am

        Parliamentary systems aren’t necessarily unstable. The problem for the Israeli system is the system itself that doesn’t allow the party of the majority of seats to form a Government so you always end up with these coalitions…unless you can win a majority like Boris did 🙂

          Milhouse in reply to mailman. | March 27, 2020 at 2:05 pm

          It certainly does “allow the party of the majority of seats to form a Government”. The problem is that no party ever gets a majority. Still, that’s never been a problem before, because someone is always able to put together a coalition easily enough.

          The underlying problem is this: The Knesset has 120 members, so to form a majority you need at least 61, but 15 of those members are radioactive. A large majority of the Knesset rightly refuse to join a government that includes the Arab parties, or that depends on their support. Which means that in order to form a government you really need not 61 out of 120 but 61 out of 105, which is 58%.

          A second problem is that there are parties, and factions within parties, who refuse to serve with each other. For instance after the first election it looked like Netanyahu would easily make a coalition, but Lieberman refused to join unless the religious parties were dropped. To form a majority he needed both the religious and Lieberman, and that proved not to be an option, which is why there were two more elections.

    Milhouse in reply to labrat. | March 27, 2020 at 12:27 am

    If you’d like an explanation, it’s easier to do it by phone. It’s really very simple, but it takes a lot of words to make it simple. If you’re interested, email your phone number to [email protected], and what time is good to call, and I’ll give you a very brief tutorial.

    Owego in reply to labrat. | March 28, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Conrad Black’s column on March 20 in the NY Sun offers a clear description and explanation of Israeli politics. The left and progressives are pushing the the world ever closer to the tipping point, nowhere perhaps more dangerously than in Israel. The Corona virus has added a new variable to the mix as we have just witnessed here with Democrat’s shenanigans. Dangerous times.

texansamurai | March 26, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Israeli politics make my brain hurt.

don’t feel like the lone ranger–have israeli in-laws and though they’ve tried repeatedly to explain their system to me, must confess that it still appears a complete cluster

am glad bibi prevailed–a steady hand and a stout heart


Viva la BiBi !!!

So Bibi would have to step away in September, 2021? What assurances did Gantz wrangle to ensure that Bibi can’t call a snap election at some convenient point in time?

    Milhouse in reply to stevewhitemd. | March 27, 2020 at 12:30 am

    Assurances are useless. But it’s not up to Netanyahu, it’s up to a majority of the Knesset, so if Netanyahu tries to welsh on the deal Gantz will try to get a majority to vote against him. He’s also hoping that Netanyahu is convicted at his upcoming trial, in which case he’d have to resign and the Likud would have to choose a new leader.

I suppose this is the best outcome that could be obtained from the mess, but it’s not a good one. In particular, the judicial coup reached an unprecedented peak when the Supreme Court had the chutzpah to give orders to the Speaker of the Knesset, based not on any law but on its own sense of what ought to be done. The Israeli judiciary has been rogue for a long time, but this was unprecedented even for it.

Edelstein resigned rather than comply with the order, but I wish he’d defied it; the problem was that too many of his own colleagues are addicted to this peculiar and inexplicable notion they have in Israel that “the rule of law” means slavish obedience to the courts. In reality that’s the very opposite of the rule of law, it’s the rule of men, and it is ruining Israel. But now the precedent has been set, and the court is now truly Supreme, a junta of self-appointed leftists in robes who hold authority over the entire state and are not answerable to anyone. Which means to a great extent it doesn’t matter who’s prime minister, because the civil service and the judiciary will continue to have veto power over every government decision.

And to make matters worse, the DOJ is now going to be given to someone in Gantz’s party, which means there will be no more attempts to rein the court in, or to try to influence judicial appointments. The judges will go on appointing their own replacements (not exactly, but in practice this is how it works), and the best hope the right has is merely that the new judges will be moderate rather than hard left. Amir Ohana tried to fight, Ayelet Shaked tried to fight, a few others tried to fight, but for now at least the fight is over and the left won.

What does a “Unity Government” do for the prospects of Trump’s peace plan?

(Assuming it can be done without the agreement of the Palestinians, with the neighboring Arab states as the other signatories…)

    Milhouse in reply to clintack. | March 27, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    It’s obviously on hold until this crisis is over. But after that it seems to be good for the deal, because it gives power to the moderate left and takes power away from the right. Netanyahu will be able to make all the concessions he likes, and that his leftist partners demand, without worrying about alienating his right flank.

    Just remember Netanyahu has always talked like a right-winger but in practice he has always been a squish, a McCain/Graham or worse. Always, going back to his first stint as PM. Don’t expect him to change.

    Owego in reply to clintack. | March 28, 2020 at 1:11 am

    also, here. Caroline Glick is a good source for all things Israeli politics.

On to a very different topic…with Iran firmly in the group of The Rona and the Eye-raaanians cutting off aid to their terrorist proxies I think we are going to see some changes coming up around Israels borders.

His dedicated opponents (antagonists) will return to the courts having lost politically again.