In my last post I described how I want a stable, right-wing government, and therefore I see my choices for this election as to vote for the strongest right-wing party (Likud) or one that will act nicely in a right-wing government (Yisrael Beytenu). For some clarification about why not Bayit Yehudi or Kulanu, please read the piece.
Still, I worry about two problems that could happen if I cast my vote for YB,
1) What if my vote away from Likud ultimately leads to a center-Left government I wouldn’t like? What if that government makes Oslo-like blunders or stifles the economy with increased taxation?
2) What if Liberman himself is chosen to form coalition? Is he up for the job? Would his government be stable?
Many before me have written about various different coalitions that could be cobbled together to form the 20th Knesset, including left, right, and even center, but what follows here are my analysis of the first question. For the answer to the second click.
1) What would said center-left government look like? IMO, it would likely exclude Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Yachad, and the Arab parties. This here is at least 45+ seats. That means that Zionist Union (Herzog/Livni) would need to compromise on many core issues including religious reforms (because Hareidem/Shas will veto such measures from within coalition) and ignore their foreign policy (because of “Referendum Bill”) of creating a Palestinian state in Israel.
Thanks to Israel’s system of proportional representation no—threshold passing—vote goes truly without representation. This means that the ruling party doesn’t get to write every clause of every law that a given legislative session passes. Even opposition members get input during legislative process. So, if the election results install a coalition that hates the Bibi-led Likud so much it excludes ‘Him’ from the coalition ‘His’ presence will still be felt in opposition. And strongly so I might add with 40+ opposition members in vociferous agreement fighting leftist policies. This would likely allow the more free-market minded parties in the coalition to pass needed reforms and legislation, relying on votes from opposition members.
Recalling the axiom often used to describe Israel’s rulers ‘the Left makes war and the Right gives back lands’ is important. Obviously, making war is not The Left’s stated agenda, and giving up lands not The Right’s, yet because the national will often prevails these events can happen under seemingly illogical and definitely disappointing political circumstances. Whether the government is center-left or center-right, and/or Bibi-led there will be no deals signed until Palestinians end incitement, prevent terror, and change their culture of death to one of life. This is how I resolve the constantly contradictory polls of “a wide majority want peace” and a similarly wide one say “we don’t currently have a partner.”Controversial bills need serious Knesset-wide, cross-party agreements to pass, as even coalition members do not vote lock-step with government on the most controversial issues.
Honestly, I find it very difficult to point to any issues with large voter consensus beyond maintaining security and lowering costs of living. How best to go about doing those things are hotly debated, but they are issues nearly everyone voting will be putting front and center. Between Likud (hypothetically in opposition) opposing defense cuts, and Bayit Yehudi (also in opposition) against public housing and increased tariffs/regulations the country’s problems will probably not be exacerbated, if even solved at all.
Without a strong enough Likud a center-left coalition becomes a possibility, but not the worrisome one we righties fear would ‘destroy the country’s Jewish nature.’ A government who truly acts leftist would be highly unstable. Just think about how 40+ opposition members could recommend a different PM, and that only 21 coalition members would need to support the no-confidence vote to remove Herzog/Livni from power.
What about my second question? Are Yisrael Beteinu and Avigdor Liberman ready for prime-ministership? Yes!