כינוס חירום בנימין נתניהו שרים ח"כים ליכוד לפני בחירות
Limor Livnat

The electoral base trap

In order to avoid the almost inevitable situation in which ministers use their posts to primarily serve their narrow base, Netanyahu should form a coalition with Blue and White so that he is not held hostage to the sectarian demands of his coalition negotiating partners

Although it seems that the task of forming a government coalition is a complicated puzzle, in fact, not much has changed and the election results dictate that portfolios will be distributed more or less on a sectarian basis so that each party can have something to show its electoral base.



Even if ministers is keen on serving all sectors of Israeli society, most likely they will be obliged to cater primarily to their niche voters, or risk political consequences.


Controversial candidate for Justice Minister Yariv Levin, flanked by Regev and Bitan
Controversial candidate for Justice Minister Yariv Levin, flanked by Regev and Bitan

Lieberman will ask for and receive the defense and immigration portfolios; his base consists of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and they gave him his mandate.


Liebermna (Photo: Ohad Z)
Liebermna (Photo: Ohad Z)


Yahadut Hatorah, with its eight Knesset seats, will return to the Finance Committee and Health Ministry. Their party Chairman Yaakov Litzman was once a highly popular minister of health (passing legislation for child dental care), but later became trapped in internal sectarian matters of the ultra-Orthodox populace. The party will undoubtedly also seek deputy ministerial positions in the education and housing ministries.


Litzman (C), Gafni (L) and Porush
Litzman (C), Gafni (L) and Porush


A strengthened Shas Party will continue to be at the helm of the Interior Ministry and will probably seek expanded powers in matters related to planning and businesses operating on Shabbat. They will also seek the Religious Affairs Ministry and posts responsible for the periphery, finance and education departments.


Interior Ministry Deri
Interior Ministry Deri


The Union of Right-wing Parties is seeking the Justice Ministry, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems determined to give it to his fellow party member Yariv Levin. They might have to suffice with the Housing Ministry, vital for approval of construction projects in West Bank settlements and Jerusalem.


Although Netanyahu already promised that the Education Ministry will be manned by a Likud MK, he will have trouble following through and that post will probably go to Rafi Peretz, as the religious Zionist community highly values the post.


And thus, there is nothing new under the sun.


If there are no last-minute surprises and once the smoke clears from the internal Likud squabbling over portfolios, we will once again find a government whose ministers are mainly concerned with sectarian issues at the expense of the nation as a whole.


In his election victory speech, Netanyahu pledged to be the prime minister of all citizens. The same must be true for ministers. This does not go to say that a politician should not have their own world view or that he or she should abandon their base voters, but they must be ready to represent even minority sectors. In a democracy, the majority ought to protect the rights of the minority.


A few decades ago, we, members of the Herut Party, and earlier, in the Revisionist movement, were a minority persecuted by the majority ruling class.


"It is folly to identify majority rule as the essence of freedom and democracy," wrote Ze'ev Jabotinsky, "In an ideal state, there ought to be an acceptable compromise between the majority and the minority as a permanent practice."


Netanyahu won a resounding victory, but he is trapped in a situation which leaves him very little choice: he must satisfy his partners in order to form a coalition, or he will be left without a government.


In order to escape the model in which ministers cater almost exclusively to their electoral base, Netanyahu should forma coalition with the Blue and White Party, or with elements of it, for the benefit of the nation.


Although this might seem like an unrealistic option at this point, "never say never" is a good rule to follow in politics. Perhaps the option is still on the table.








פרסום ראשון: 04.26.19, 00:52
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