Op-Ed: PM Netanyahu Has a Problem
Of coarse PM Netanyahu has problems. He heads a right wing party while he himself has moved to the center-left.
Four years ago, he did his best to control his party and its policies. He strong armed Feiglin out of the list and made sure to include centrists like himself, namely Meridor and Begin, in positions of influence. But that wasn’t enough support for himself. He invited Labour into the government and appointed Ehud Barak as Defence Minister. Thus Barak got to decide what gets built and what gets demolished east of the "green line" (1949 Armistice Line, ed.).
He also appointed Yehuda Weinstein as Attorney General, despite the fact, or maybe because of it, that Weinstein was center-left. Thus Weinstein could thwart the rightist legislation emanating from Likud. In the cases where he couldn’t do it, Netanyahu himself, prevented the legislation from going ahead.
It is imperative for a right wing agenda that the anti-Israel NGO’s be reigned in. Once again Netanyahu wouldn’t let it happen.
This time around Netanyahu is arguing for a broad-based coalition. The only reason that I can discern for this is because he wants to govern from the center and not from the right. His party, much to his chagrin, has moved more to the right by nominating right-wingers to the party list. This is an anathema for him. He even threatened to punish Likud members who were settlers for their part in doing so.
In Canada, where I spent most of my life, the biggest political parties do their damnedest to get a majority of seats in government so that they can form a government without other parties. If they succeed, they consider that they have a mandate to govern according to their platforms. The winning party would never invite other parties to join the government to broaden the government.
Netanyahu, on the other hand, wants to govern with a broad coalition so he doesn’t have to govern from the right. He could, if he wanted, have a center-right government made up of Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudit only, but no, he wants more parties in the government to blunt their influence.
His biggest problem is that Bennett will do his best to prevent the abandonment of Judea and Samaria and from what we read, Lapid will support him in this. Together they prevent him from following in the footsteps of Sharon, Olmert and Livni. Just as they did, he wants to uproot settlements and push the peace process.
That is why he embraced Livni the first and put her in a position to advance his policies and not those of his party and certainly not those of Bennett’s party. Livni as Justice Minister is sure to bury the Levy Report so Netanyahu doesn’t have to take the rap for doing so.
This week Netanyahu has focused on smearing Bennett for abandoning the hareidi parties. But why must they be in the coalition? They aren’t Zionists. What gives them an inaliable right to be in the coalition?
So far the Likud MK’s have been silent on where Netanyahu is taking them. But they can’t be happy. Sooner or later there will be a revolt.
Jabotinsky must be turning over in his grave.