Tuesday evening, when the ministers take the Knesset podium – those with the portfolios and those without; those with the traditional ministries and those with the ones created especially for them – it would be good if they trip on the way. And when the 37 ministers and deputy ministers stand up there and pledge allegiance to the State of Israel, it would be proper if their voices tremble.
Because in this entire Sodom there isn’t even one righteous person who will stand up sand say: Thank you, but I feel uncomfortable accepting the post of minister without portfolio for minority affairs, or minister for strategic affairs, or minister without portfolio for improving the public service, or deputy minister for youth affairs, or just a minister without portfolio, when tens of thousands of employees are being fired in this country every month.
There isn’t even one person who would say: I don’t think that it is proper that in a party that won 27 mandates in the elections there is a minister for less than every two Knesset members. Or maybe someone who would just feel embarrassed when his prime minister, who talks day and night about the need to boost efficiency, reduce the public sector, and end the wastefulness appoints ministers and deputy ministers only because Steinitz remained loyal to him, or so that Gila Gamliel won’t come out against him, or that Braverman won’t back the opposition, or that Yossi Peled won’t be insulted.
One person who will stand up and say: We need some people to also do the Knesset work. After all, it’s impossible to hand out offices, and drivers, and security guards, and parliamentarian aides, and all sorts of other perks, as if this is a birthday bag with a Kinder surprise in it – everyone gets something; nobody goes home empty-handed.
It is even difficult to blame Netanyahu. It’s the system that forces him to buy his allies; it’s as simple as that – to buy. Because how can you refer to it any other way, when Prof. Avishai Braverman will be sworn into a government that only a week ago he preached against with such zeal. Or moral people such as Begin and Meridor, who suddenly fail to see the defilement and corruption involved in accepting the post of minister without portfolio or minister with a delusional portfolio only to sit around the government table.
Bibi got government he wantedOr how about Steinitz, who wanted to be defense minister, was willing to compromise for the internal security portfolio, and then became the leading candidate for finance minister, the most important portfolio at the most difficult period, which requires the appointment of the most suitable and professional people. Steinitz’s appointment comes for the same reason that Abraham Hirchson was assigned the portfolio by Olmert: Because of his close affiliation with and absolute loyalty to the prime minister.
Indeed, if the Netanyahu government is successful, it will do great things, and nobody will remember how many ministers sat around the government table. Nobody will quote, over and over again, what Netanyahu said only three years ago about a much smaller government than the one he formed now. Besides, we can say that despite all the obstacles, Netanyahu formed the government he wanted: A broad government, Lieberman on the right and Labor on the left, Barak as defense minister, and even though he made a genuine effort to bring it in – Kadima left out to dry in the opposition.
He has only one more small aspiration, which he hopes to realize soon and which was entrenched in the coalition deals: Bringing seven Kadima members, headed by Shaul Mofaz, over to Likud.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been able to equalize the number of Likud ministers to the number of ministers from other coalition parties, which will provide him with better governability. As opposed to 1996, when he left many wounded comrades behind, this time around he made sure not to leave any pockets of resistance, and to snuff out any hint of resentment. If up until Monday we suspected that while leaving Netanyahu’s office (where Likud members were summoned one by now, as if on the way to being butchered,) we would see angry, bitter, and disappointed faces, it turned out we were wrong. Perhaps this is what happens when expectations are so low: People are happy with what they got.
Besides Silvan Shalom. At the time of writing this, it appears that no suitable solution has been found for him. Once upon a time, Sharon told Likud members who were worried he will short-change Netanyahu: Bibi too, Bibi too. This time around it appears that Netanyahu is telling them: Except for Silvan, except for Silvan.