Lenny Ben DavidThe writer served as a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington. Today he is a consultant on public affairs.
Here are my first seismic readings.
In a surprise middle-of-the-night move, Prime Minister Netanyahu formed a coalition with the Kadima party, nixing the idea of early elections that he had announced just a day earlier.
Bibi's brilliant political gambit was done for these 5 reasons:
Reason 1. Saves a huge sum for economy, maybe 1b shekel, by avoiding election costs. Better spent for social, defense uses.
Reason 2. Puts another ex-general, ex Chief of Staff, into government, a Persian no less, who counters Iran-doubters like former head of ISA Diskin & former head of Mossa Dagan.
Reason 3: Neutralizes Lieberman's threats. Puts settlers (Migron, Ulpana crisis) and hareidim (Tal Law crisis) in the corner, as they lose political clout in the coalition. Will hareidim do national service?
Reason 4. Earns points from Barak and pals and 60% of Kadima MKs who would be out of the Knesset if there were new elections
Reason 5. Everyone thought elections in September before the United States elections would protect Bibi from Obama pressure (as he wants Jewish vote). This serves the same purpose.
Aftershocks are still coming: Yair Lapid, loser (his bubble will burst with a year and a half to elections). "Peace process", possible beneficiary.
And don't forget, Reason 6: : It allows Israelis to have a pleasant summer without craziness of electons.