Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Winners and Losers: Israel’s Historic Unity Government

A joint Joe-Jameel post. 

Left behind in the wake of Netanyahu’s surprise unity maneuver are some serious winners and loser. There is no doubt that elections would have shaken things up, but this unity coalition shakes up things even more. What Netanyahu managed to do today is of historic proportions and has some serious ramifications for many people on both a personal and national level. We present to you our list of winners and losers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Winner.
Bibi would probably have done well in elections, but now he runs the largest unity government ever in the history of Israel, giving him a support base not even Ben-Gurion could have dreamed of.  

Shaul Mofaz: Winner.
Mofaz made a fool out of himself when he jumped ship to Kadima, but after sitting it out on the back benches behind Tzipi Livni on the back benched, he’s manages to come out on top and resuscitate the essentially dead Kadima party.

 Kadima Party: Winner
Until yesterday they were completely irrelevant and simply dead in the water; the largest individual party in the Knesset was forced to face the fact that they might as well not even have been voted into office. Now they have a seat at the table, and perhaps some influence too.

Tzipi Livni: Loser
She could have been in the government 3 years ago, 2 years ago, and even 1 year ago. This could have been her and not Mofaz. At the end of the day, Kadima was kept in failure and disgrace because of her. Now it's obvious to all.

Likud Party: Winner
The Likud as a party is more powerful than ever.

Likud MKs: Losers
For the most part, their individual influence and power has been diluted. Perhaps significantly.

Labor: Losers
They were positioned to be the second largest party. Who knows what will be in a year and a half. They may be in for an even bigger shock in the opposition (see Ahmed Tibi below).  

Shelly Yachimovitch: Black eye
Labor lost, but Shelly only got a black eye out of this. Perhaps she’ll lead the Tel Aviv summer block party, if it happens.  

Yisrael Beiteinu: Winner/Loser
Yisrael Beiteinu didn’t really want elections, so this is good for them. The downside, their influence has been diluted, perhaps almost completely. One of the goals of this unity coalition is to implement a good replacement for the Tal law. It may happen. Yisrael Beiteinu may even get part of the credit for it, so they can at least bask in the reflected glory.  

Avigdor Lieberman: Loser
Lieberman will keep his job, avoid elections, and get the opportunity to try to pass more laws he wants. But on the downside, the investigation(s) against him will now continue, and his influence has been severely diminished. We'll see if he can make a comeback out of this.  

Ahmed Tibi: Winner
What does Ahmed Tibi have to do with this? It’s simple math. Depending on a few factors, there will be only around 26 MKs in the opposition. The Arab have the largest number of opposition members compared to Labor, Meretz (and maybe Ichud Leumi). Ahmed Tibi is poised to be the new head of the opposition.  

Meretz: Losers
Outside, irrelevant, no following, and not going to be opposition leader. Not even the Tel Aviv summer block party will be able to help them.  

Aryeh Deri: Loser
No explanation needed.

Shas: Winners
See Aryeh Deri above.  

Yair Lapid: Loser
No explanation needed, but we’ll give one anyway. Sure he can go back to TV and perhaps try again next year, but he really lost his opportunity, even as his followers lost their enthusiasm the second he actually announced his candidacy.

President Obama: Loser
Obama is a partisan president, while Bibi is the leader of the largest national unity coalition in the history of Israel. Netanyahu has the support of most of the country behind him for whatever he may need to do. Obama may have hoped he’d be facing a weaker Bibi after November, there’s no chance of that now.  

Dagan, Diskin, etc.: Losers
Netanyahu and Barak are messianists, and irrational? Well, then add Mofaz too, and 80% of the Knesset. Now the former security chiefs sound like sore losers.  

Ehud Barak: Winner
He still has a job.

Yuval Zellner: Winner
Yuval Who? We asked the same thing.
Zellner just replaced Livni in the Knesset. Until this morning, he was going to go down in history as one of the shortest serving MKs (who would never get a second chance at it either). Now he gets a chance to serve.  

Moshe Feiglin: Loser
(Netanyahu election shenanigans aside) Moshe would have done well in elections. It remains to be seen if Likud MKs will still have as much influence in the unity government, because right now his influence is through them. On the other hand, there’s a slight chance he may be entering the Knesset as a new MK to replace someone else who might be leaving. In which case, he will become a winner.  

Chareidi Parties: Losers
In or out of the coalition, it doesn’t matter. Some new, improved Tal law will pass, and that battle will be lost. Now it’s up to them to decide if they want to work together to make it a good law or not.  

The Chareidim: Winners
A new version of the Tal law will pass that will help integrate Chareidim into the work force and perhaps the army/national service, removing them from the cycle of poverty they’re currently in. And they’ll still be able to learn Torah. Exactly how good things turn out for them will depend on what their parties fight for and what they’re willing to compromise on.

Mafdal-Bayit Yehud-Ichud Leumi: Winners
Really! They are just as irrelevant now (on a legislative level) as they were before, and they probably weren’t going to do that much better in the next election. But at least they got their act together and learned they can unify. That’s a very good thing. Hopefully it will last.

Ichud Leumi: No difference
In or out of the coalition, it won’t make much of a difference, but do they really want to sit outside with just Meretz, Labor and the Arab parties?

Ulpana, Beit El: Losers
The Supreme Court just decided to only give the government 2 weeks to destroy the homes. The new unity government is likely to do it. But they’ll probably compensate the owners at least. We'll know in a few weeks if they are really losers here or not.  

Settlements: Winners
For the most part, we won’t see another Hitnatkut (expulsion), and Bibi may legalize more outposts and pass laws to help others, perhaps even annex settlement blocks or area C. As long they stay out of direct conflict with the Supreme Court, individual settlements should be safe. Overall the Settlement Enterprise should be OK.  

Supreme Court: Winner
Kadima is on their side, and will block legislation that will put limits on their extrajudicial expanded powers.

Israel’s Political Media Pundits: Losers
They’re like deer in the headlights, completely surprised by what happened.  

Israel: Winners
As an aside Israel saved NIS 400 million on election costs. National Unity is a good thing (for all the vague reasons). It also means that the country is united in whatever challenges it may need to face with Iran. Perhaps we'll also see a real revamping of the government system.

The Palestinians: N/A
They don't even have a pony in this race.

Iranian Government: Losers
There’s a much higher probability that with such a large unity government, and with (the Iranian) Mofaz at Bibi’s side, that a strike against Iran's nuclear weapon production facilities is very likely.  

The Iranian People: Winners
Perhaps there will be more outside support to help them overthrow the Islamic regime.  

The Jewish People: Winners
National unity is a good thing in religious thought. So overall, this should be good for the Jews.

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EvanP said...

Meh. The Dati Leumi crowd, as always, gets screwed and the settlement movement even more so. The whole push for elections was because the Likud membership and MKs were sick of Ehud Barak/Supreme Court/AGs office playing double standard with the Ulpana/Migron/Hevron. Now, it'll be back to business as usual, where illegal building all over the country done by Beduins, Arabs etc. gets a pass and when Jews in Yehuda and Shomron follow all the laws they still get their houses torn down.
Needless to say, I'm disgusted with the whole targil masriach.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Bennett and MyIsrael / Yisraelim are pretty big losers here too.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: I agree that Benett and MyIsrael came out as losers. But then again, they are in the same boat as Yair Lapid.

EvanP: I think that the Settlement movement will have ups and downs as Bibi will try to find a balance between pleasing Kadima and keeping the rightwing of the Likud happy. Kadima only has Mofaz joining the inner cabinet. There are still many pro-Eretz Yisrael people in the government. Don't misunderstand -- there will be individuals who will face painful loses, such as 5 families in Givat HaUlpana...or Beit HaMachpela. Yet there will be continuous pressure on Netanyahu to continue building and expansion; such as the legalization of Bruchin, Sansana and Rechailim.

National Union is now totally irrelavent as a party, and may even have to salute Ahmed Tibi or Hanin Zuabi as their "oppostion" leader.

Shaul B said...

Not so sure that I agree with everything here. Mofaz is kinda neutral, and I don't think Feiglin is a loser from this. See my analysis for more...

Anonymous said...

For the Ihud (and bayit yehudi, it's depend on how they will unite now), it can be good.
Now, in the opposition, there are only arabs, irrelevants leftists and radical leftists.
They will be the only ones who will be opposing from the right, their voice will be much more heard !

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shaul: I agree that Feiglin doesn't lose from this because it gives him more time to continue strengthening his political base in the Likud -- which is now the Supreme party in Israel. The coalition deal gives Feiglin even more future potential.

It also proves that the Likud is *the* party to be in. The smaller parties are becoming more irrelavent by the day. I'm very happy to have attended the Likud Central Comittee Convention this past Sunday evening.

Anonymous said...

re ulpana neighborhood. If I understand correctly these are apartment buildings, so this is not 5 families, but 30!!

Shlono said...

Becoming leader of the Likud does not grant you all the Knesset seats the Likud won in the last election. If Feiglin ever wins Likud primaries then the Likud will immediately break into pieces. Just like Kadima broke off from it, and Barak's party split off from Labor. No matter how well or badly Feiglin does in the primaries, his actual support base in the population remains unchanged, and it is nowhere near enough to actually lead Israel.

Shaul B said...

Shlono: did you notice that most of the Likud MKs actually came to Feiglin's post-primaries toast, and were full of praise for him? Not just the likes of Danny Danon, Yariv Levin & Tzippi Hotovely, but also Yisrael Katz, Gilad Erdan and Miri Regev. If Feiglin wins, there's no reason to believe they would quit the Likud on principle.

Anonymous said...

Re: Bennett / MyIsrael / HaYehudiim

That's pretty sad ... have you been following what he has been saying.

BTW I now the guy on a personal level very well. He is charismatic, clever, courageous and .. now wait for it ... HONEST !!!!


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: Bennett is a nice guy and says the right things. The problem is that had their been elections now, I could see him having the "1992 effect" in which more right wingers voted in the elections, yet the smaller parties didnt get enough seats to pass the "achuz hachasima" -- and all those votes were wasted (Techiya, R' Levinger's party, and a bunch of others)...leading to the rise of the worst government in Israel's history.

Ezzie said...

Fantastic summary, Jameel.

HolyCityPrayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HolyCityPrayer said...

I think your otherwise excellent analysis is wrong in 2 places and left out one important group and an important winner.

Likud party: you said winner, I say loser for exactly the reason you called the Likud MKs winners. "influence and power has been diluted".

Likud MKs: winners. All had been sweating they would be one of the 7 that wouldn't make it into the top 20. Now they have another 18 months of a job.

Supreme winner: Likud MK Zev Elkin, who has proven that he is Bibi's most trusted advisor (he was the only MK brought into the story way before it broke) as well as a favorite of the Likud's right[most] flank.

Winners: The Likud merkaz. We almost had Bibi as our president, who wants our demise and would have made us hibernate until January 2014. But a few alert members submitted their candidacy, which brought Danon and Eitan back to the race and especially ripped up the agreement they almost agreed to - Bibi as temporary head of the Veida/Merkaz until after general elections (they thought just till September 2012 but as I wrote above, Bibi knew he was thinking January 2014).

Mini-winner: Gidon Ariel, who was the first and spotlit candidate for Veida president, who got a third-page article in the Jpost and the Jpress and many encouraging phone calls. (He's waiting for the quarter that will, combined with this, get him on the subway.)

Awake said...

Don't kid yourselves: If the Iranians are to be "Losers" according to your analysis (where Bibi now bombs them because the other "Losers" can now be ignored) then frankly, we'll all be "Losers", once he presses the button.

Anonymous said...

Another big winner of this is the Am Shalem party. They now have another full year to get press and notoriety.

They might even be able to take advantage of the new Tal Law

FunnyAndJewish.com said...

I found your political breakdown very interesting. All in all, I would agree that this is quite good for Israel.

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