Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
'Netanyahu will seek to use transit government to woo voters from the right'
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Nahum Barnea

When the government committed suicide

Analysis: The third Netanyahu government was not killed by an ideological dispute, an unusual failure or a popular protest. It died because of mutual loathing, because of the prime minister's nonperformance, because it lost its way.

Unless a miracle (or disaster) happens at the last moment, the third Netanyahu government ended its life Monday night. To be more accurate, it committed suicide.



It was not killed by an ideological dispute, an unusual failure or a popular protest. It died because of mutual loathing, because of the prime minister's nonperformance, because it lost its way.


The question we should be concerned about now is how the inheritance will be handled. The 2015 budget is lying on the Knesset's desk. It has no chance of being approved now. This means that the transit government will have to live on the fuel fumes of the 2014 budget.


As far as the IDF is concerned, this is very bad news. The army will not only have to halt the IDF bases' move to the Negev, but also regular security activities, exercises and signed agreements.


If Netanyahu wants to use the government to improve his chances in the elections, he must fire Yair Lapid immediately. He won't be able to afford an oppositional finance minister who will prevent him from doing what prime ministers do on the eve of elections: Shower the voters with gifts.


A decision to call elections will turn the government into a transit government. Transit governments are not necessarily paralyzed governments. Both Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert tried to reach a comprehensive agreement with the Palestinians while heading a transit government – tried and failed.


Such an adventure is apparently not awaiting Benjamin Netanyahu. He will seek to use the transit government to woo voters from the right. He will find it difficult to do so if Lapid, Tzipi Livni and their ministers remain in the government.


Election boycott is not the answer

The question how will the parties present themselves to the voter remains open. Theoretically, all or part of the Bayit Yehudi party may agree to team up with the Likud; it's possible that Yisrael Beitenu will succeed in joining such a lineup. Livni and her friends may join Yesh Atid and the Labor Party, or fulfill former minister Amir Peretz's dream and launch a united front of all three parties.


In the previous elections, two years ago, Lapid had the benefit of his freshness. He and his friends had not been politically stained. Now he is in an opposite situation: He will have to use all his talent to convince his voters that he has no part in the failures and corruption of the outgoing government, that he is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.


The question who will former minister Moshe Kahlon join forces with remains open too. The Israeli voters have had enough of knights in shining armor promising to put them out of their misery at once. Kahlon will have to work hard to convince them that he is different from his predecessors.


The election campaign is starting at a low point. If you ask Israelis today who they plan to vote for, many of them will say they have no intention of voting at all. The only ones who will vote in masses are the haredim and the right-wing settlers. They will be the real rulers in Netanyahu's fourth government – if such a government is indeed established.


The first mission for those who fear for the fate of this wonderful country is probably to establish in no time a movement which will have one thing to say: Go out and vote.


Those who choose to stay home, either out of laziness or as an act of protest, either out of indolence or in order to spite, are punishing neither Netanyahu nor Lapid, neither Isaac Herzog nor Naftali Bennett. They are stabbing Israeli democracy in the back.


פרסום ראשון: 12.03.14, 00:27
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