Photo: AFP
Netanyahu will blame the entire world apart from himself
Photo: AFP
Dr. Chaim Weizmann

It's not the government system, it's Netanyahu

Op-ed: Instead of creating a stable, functioning unity government with the Zionist Union and Kulanu, Netanyahu decided to let every single MK become an extortionist.

Israel has never seen a candidate tasked with establishing a government after elections fail to accomplish his mission. It didn't happen this time either. At a late hour of the night, a formula was found to allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – barely, I should say – inform President Reuven Rivlin that he had succeeded in creating a government.



Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett didn't want to politically kill Netanyahu. Not to mention the fact that such an act could have turned into a suicide attack. He did, however, exasperate him till the very last moment on the last night.


But if Netanyahu thought that this was where his nightmare ended, he had better think again. He should imagine himself managing a coalition of 61 Knesset members. Every bastard is a king and everything falls on his back – Netanyahu's back. I would have liked to see the smile on the president's face when he mercifully suggested that the stressed out and short-winded Netanyahu relax and watch the soccer match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Indeed, revenge is a dish best served cold, and it is seven times sweeter then.


Netanyahu and Bennett. The revenge was served cold (Photo: New Media Likud)
Netanyahu and Bennett. The revenge was served cold (Photo: New Media Likud)


Netanyahu could have – and should have – telephoned Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog immediately after the election results were published and invite him to establish a government. A Likud-led government with the Zionist Union and Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu would have been based on a coalition of 67 MKs.


Netanyahu would have also had to swallow his pride and agree to give Tzipi Livni the Justice portfolio, but that's a modest price for a leader to pay. The public has no interest in his personal loathing and fondness, and the public must not pay the price.


Such a government would have been able to implement necessary reforms in the economy, society and governance, and start restoring Israel's foreign relations.


Such a coalition could have later been joined by Yesh Atid or the ultra-Orthodox parties, expanding its base to some 80 MKs. There isn't a more stable coalition. The Labor Party would have suffered from such a coalition, which would have sentenced the party to many years in the opposition, if at all. I'm not sure that that's what stopped Netanyahu from making this move. It's more likely that he was simply afraid. Of what? God knows.


This was Netanyahu's decision – to build a radical rightist-religious government and place himself in the hands of every extortionist, although he knows this is not in the State of Israel's best interest. But Netanyahu is scared. He is scared of everything moving around him. His "friends" in the tops spots of the Likud list see themselves, each and every one of them, as a potential prime minister and are demanding, accordingly, distinguished portfolios which they believe will help them move towards their wishful target.


But they are not the only ones who scare Netanyahu. He is apparently also scared to death by lawmakers who have yet to deliver their maiden speech and who entered the Knesset on Netanyahu's back. Otherwise, it's hard to understand the attack launched by the new MK, the great light, Mr. David Amsalem, against the prime minister.


Up until a few days ago, no one had even heard of him, and now he is threatening his party leader not to dare do one thing or another. And he probably knows why. The fact is that no one is stopping him, no one is saying a thing, not even Bibi's most loyal people. And he is not the only one. Whoever hears the fiery voices from the back benches of the Likud can't help but feel the chill in his back.


But Netanyahu made his decision. And now, as always, he will blame the entire world apart from himself. Is there anything easier than blaming the system? It's not that there is no room for changes in our government system, but no reform will come out of this coalition. And even if a reform could come out, in order to be effective every system needs leaders, rather than small politicians who favor their personal interests over the public's welfare.


Dr. Chaim Weizmann is a lecturer in government and public diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and at Tel Aviv University.


פרסום ראשון: 05.12.15, 15:48
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