The previous piece focused on Likud’s claim “Us or The Left” (quick summary, I’m not too scared of the Left) whereas this piece will focus on the (unlikely) possibility of Yisrael Beytenu taking the premiership.

Tachles Liberman

Capital Punishment for Murderers on banner in foreground, with Knesset in background. View from my window

I asked “What if Liberman himself is chosen to form coalition? Is he up for the job? Would his government be stable?”

If that happens it would be because the center-right, anti-Bibi bloc (excluding Zionist camp and other leftists) got more votes than the Bibi-Bennet bloc. Mr. Liberman could form coalition of the wanting-to-govern with Lapid, Kahlon, Bennet, Hareidim, Yachad, and Shas. He could also perhaps form one with Likud/Labor, but I don’t see either of those parties allowing it, they would rather just remain in the opposition. Assuming such a coalition would be center-right/right, could it be stable in the face of the strong opposition?

I feel like such a coalition would be stable even in the face of a Likud/Labor ‘national unity’ opposition because of the reforms Yisrael Beteinu made to votes of no-confidence. The opposition would need 61votes for a specific MK to take over. Fat chance Likud and Labor could agree on a  specific candidate.

So if it would be a stable coalition, how would it govern? It would pass various electoral reforms, continue building apartments and infrastructure, maintain port reform, increase security and criminal penalties. Sound similar to what you thought a Likud-led government would do? That’s because it is similar in many ways. The electorate increasingly wants economic growth and security, and disagrees more strongly about which person should get credit for making changes than whether those changes actually need to be made. The proposition that “changes are needed” probably has the largest consensus of any question posed by pollsters in this cycle.

This time the biggest, strongest voice for economic reforms will be the right-wing parties, while the loudest, shrillest ones for social reforms will be from the center-left. The Left-wing parties (who’ll advocate public housing, for example) will be crowded out buy the free-market supply-siders pushing for greater development of apartments all over the country, including the settlement blocks. The Chief Rabbinate devotees will be crowded out by its reformer’s agenda (Kashrut will be limited to ingredients rather than behavior, and conversions/marriage allowed w/merely local approval). Whether the government lasts it’s full term will depend on how well the coalition members behave, based on what kind of agreements/understandings Liberman reaches with the various factions.

I have a feeling that there would not be as much infighting in a Liberman-led government as a Bibi-led one. Why? Because on the most contentious issues Yisrael Beytenu has a rather pragmatic/Centrist position. The party would rather allow credit to go where it’s deserved than bicker over who’ll get the positive headline. As a party of equal strength as their coalition partners (YB would be ‘more equal’ of course) Liberman wouldn’t try to best his partners, rather allow them to work towards shared successes for the country’s benefit. Beytenu doesn’t believe in leftist economics and are opposed to the right’s religious rigidity in the public sphere. Sure, the party’s statements on death-penalty for terrorists and position on loyalty bills leave little room for compromise, but I think much of the country would accept some version of both of those bills.

Personally, passing a bill to render murderers as dead as their victims is a moral obligation of any decent country. This has been my biggest lament about Israel, since before I even made Aliyah. Its a shame, and to the detriment of our society that we don’t kill murderers once we’ve arrest/tried/convicted them. In case you don’t know the difference between killing and murder you really ought to check out this video. Apologies for that digression.

To conclude, after much internal (and some external debate, too) I’ve made my decision to vote for Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu….

And You Can Too!