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Yair Lapid
Photo: Reuters
Size does matter
Op-ed: Yesh Atid leader Lapid making good on his campaign promise for small government without the haredim

Over the past few weeks we have been fed disinformation, mainly by Likud sources. According to the various false reports and spins, several governments had been formed: A government with the haredim and Lapid, but without Bennett; a government with the haredim and Bennett but without Lapid; a coalition that includes Likud-Beiteinu and Labor; and a small government only with the haredim, which Bennett was supposed to join later as though he were jumping head first into an empty pool. Not to mention the reports from Saturday night of a bloated government consisting of 25 ministers, in addition to deputy ministers and ministers-without-portfolio.

 

The pundits were quick to determine that Lapid had failed, as he promised a small government.

 

Now, just two days later, the entire picture has changed: Israel's 33rd government will apparently consist of one prime minister, 20 ministers and eight deputy ministers – meaning it will be significantly smaller than the current government, which is the most bloated in Israel's history – 30 ministers, portfolios that were invented by witty copywriters, four ministers-without-portfolio and another nine deputy ministers.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to accept Lapid's demand for a smaller cabinet may be part of his attempt to convince the Yesh Atid chairman to forgo the education portfolio. But perhaps, in addition to making good on the promise to his voters for a small government without the ultra-Orthodox – Lapid will also obtain the education portfolio, which he has been aiming for ever since he entered politics and has designated from the very beginning for his number two - Rabbi Shay Piron.

 

On Monday night a senior Likud official complained that Lapid is dictating everything to Netanyahu, including the size and composition of the next government. What's clear is that whatever happens during the coalition negotiations until the next government is sworn, it will not be enough to compensate the offended Likud members who believed they deserved to become ministers.

 

Netanyahu even managed to make an enemy of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who did not want to become a minister. Rivlin was all smiles at the Knesset yesterday, but anyone who watches "House of Cards" knows how many faces revenge has.

 

 

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