Friday, March 20, 2015

Called It!

Hey remember that time when, right after the Israeli elections, I insisted that Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu Party wouldn't be a water-carrier for the far-right? I believe my precise words were "I am extremely skeptical that he wants to be the furthest left member of the government coalition." Kahlon has the leverage to make a lot of demands, since any coalition (really for either left or right) has to go through his party. And lo and behold, look at the news today:
Fancy that! There are a couple of ways this might play out. Bibi might hold his ground and Kahlon might blink first -- nobody wants to go through another round of elections. But assuming that Kahlon is insistent, this might knock the religious parties out of the coalition (they hate Lapid and his Yesh Atid party with a passion). With Yesh Atid in, they're not necessary to reach 61 MKs (the right bloc plus Kulanu and Yesh Atid equals 65 seats). And while the religious parties aren't superhawks on Israel-Palestine or other foreign affairs issues, it is definitely the case that subbing in Yesh Atid for them is a shift for the better. It's hard to see how a coalition that includes both the religious parties and Yesh Atid lasts very long.

In other fun news for Bibi, Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party is demanding that any coalition agreement include a statement opposing a Palestinian state. Given that Bibi spent most of this week walking back his opposition to a two-state solution, earning (to my mind undeserved) plaudits from many pro-Israel organizations who desparately want to believe Bibi is and portray him as on the side of a Palestinian state, this is going to be a fun needle for him to thread. Assuming Yesh Atid and the religious parties can't sit together, Bibi needs Bennett as part of his coalition -- but it is unclear if Lapid (or Kahlon, for that matter) would sign on to any anti-Palestinian-state position that would be satisfactory to Bennett.

The drama never stops.

1 comment:

David said...

I just shared this on Facebook. I am eager to see what my more politicized Israeli Facebook friends have to say about it.