The greatest winners of the national unity deal are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new coalition partner, Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz. Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapid, who did well in the polls, are the big losers.
Who gained from the move?
Benjamin Netanyahu – got another year and a half or so as prime minister, with the broadest coalition possible. He now has the opportunity to address several sensitive issues.
Shaul Mofaz and Kadima – spared a possible political demise. The future is foggy, but for the time being Shaul Mofaz has time to build his image.
Ehud Barak – planned to run with the Independence party, which barely reached the minimal threshold for entering the Knesset. Now he shall remain in the post of defense minister and can breathe a sigh of relief.
Eli Yishai and Shas - As long a Rabbi Ovadia Yosef rules the party, Yishai gains, because he did not really want elections, and for the time being Aryeh Deri will be left out. Should it quit the government later because of the Tal Law, Shas would be able to tell its voters that it fought against it.
Avigdor Lieberman – all along, he claimed that he wanted to see the government run its course. He also wanted to be credited for the new Tal Law. Now, his part in the government will decline, and his ability to threaten to topple the government will also decline, significantly. His contribution to the Tal Law will be minimized, as the legislation would not have passed without Kadima. As to the decision on his indictment, he may gain: Should an indictment be served, he will have to quit his ministerial post. A deal may be worked out with him that will force him to take a time-out until the next elections. Had an indictment been served right before the elections, he may have had to stay out of politics for four years.
The truly big winners – the dozens of Knesset members who already started to look for another job.
And who lost?
Shelly Yachimovich and Labor – the polls predicted close to 20 Knesset seats for Labor. Yachimovich was riding the social protest wave, and now will be hung out to dry in an armored Audi with body guards, in her role as opposition chairwoman with a mere eight Knesset seats.
Yair Lapid – a true letdown for the man who made the great buzz, who is now en route to a lengthy dry spell and possible erosion. Should the Tal Law be passed, he will have nothing to offer on this front.
Tzipi Livni – quit Kadima, and now is left out of the game. She could have been a part of the government had she wanted to. On the other hand, she can wait for her opportunity and could make a comeback.
The new candidates – we have seen various new factions both on the Right and Left. Now, they may not survive until the elections.