The solution to the coalition crisis afflicting all of Israel is not a disunity government with Benny Gantz and his three partners in Blue and White. Instead, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be reaching out to his potential opponents within the Likud. With them, he should make the consummate deal.
The latest Likud offer to Gantz, although rejected, was quite generous. In a bold concession to enable a broad coalition, Netanyahu agreed to only serve in his current position for 4-6 months, then to hand over the baton to Gantz for two years, with an equal distribution of cabinet seats. Netanyahu could then focus on his trial and refuting the charges against him.
In effect, the government thus created would be, at best, a centrist government that would not be able to implement any of the stated short-term goals of the nationalist camp, such as sovereignty in Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea region and the slightly longer-term goal of sovereignty for all of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Only a strong right-of-center coalition has the determination to accomplish these goals and the chance of withstanding the expected pressure from the Kingdom of Jordan, the European Union, and other international players.
Given that we are on our way to new elections that are likely to lead to another deadlock and given the unfortunate reality that Netanyahu has not succeeded this year at forming a majority coalition, it is clearly time to try something new. Instead of passing the mantle to Gantz after 4-6 months, why not do the same with his potential rivals within the Likud? Why not agree to a similar deal, but internally?
What I am proposing is the following:
The Likud leadership primaries will be held before the end of those six months, without Netanyahu’s participation. The winner will be Netanyahu’s successor and would serve as Prime Minister for two years after Netanyahu’s initial six months.
If Netanyahu is found innocent of all charges, he will have the option of returning to his position at the end of the two years and will serve until the end of the term. If not, his Likud successor will complete the term.
This proposal would enable a smooth transition and a right-of-center coalition, as well as an honorable exit for Netanyahu. It is also a proposal that would most likely be acceptable to the other members of the right-wing bloc. As for Avigdor Liberman, who still holds the balance of power with his Yisrael Beytenu party, once a clear and smooth transition for Netanyahu is in place, Liberman would likely prefer a stable coalition of the right, rather than a left-wing coalition with the support of Ahmed Tibi, Ayman Odeh and their anti-Israel Union of Arab parties. When the will is there, Liberman will find a way to reach an acceptable compromise with the Haredi parties. And they will, as well.
Now is the time for Netanyahu to make a bold leadership move by reaching out to potential successors, such as Gideon Saar, Nir Barkat, and Yuli Edelstein. The big picture of a stable right-wing government is far more important than any one leader, but the honor of that leader is important, as well. It’s imperative that this plan be implemented as soon as possible.
David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh Israel, is the author of the book, “Trump and the Jews” and five other books. Rubin is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, established after he and his then three-year-old son were wounded in a terror attack. He can be found at www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or at www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org