A Few of the Winners and Losers in the Israeli “Donnybrook”

Well, it’s all over and the coalition is on it’s way and with that we get first crack at analysis. At who won and who lost and what the Common Wisdom (CW) has been.

For instance, CW talks about how Yair Lapid won this big victory, after all he did get the government down to 21 Ministries, he did get to hold both the Finance and Education Ministries (plus other ones having to do with social welfare). He held firm to the positions he wanted and for the most part he got that. The question here is, “Did Lapid actually really win this thing?”.

Of that I am not so sure, in reality we will have to see if Yesh Atid will be able to pull off it’s social and budgetary goals (even with control of the Finance Ministry) in the face of an increasingly Rightist Cultural and International agenda. It will be interesting to see where their needs for reforms fit into the upcoming fights of limited money and the forthcoming increases on spending on the YESHA. So, I am holding my judgement here.

I personally think the big winner was Naftali Bennet, Jewish Home and the Hard Right. They got the cultural ministries, they got the International and security ministries. They get to chart the image of Israel to the world AND they get to define what they see as to what kind of State Israel becomes. Look at the list of ministries:

Report: Probable look at Netanyahu government and his 21 ministers.

Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) Prime Minister , Minister of Foreign Affairs
Moshe Ya`alon (Likud) Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Defense
Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Finance
Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Industry, Trade, and Labor, Minister of Religious Services, Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem
Tzipi Livni (Livni Party) Minister of Justice
Gideon Sa`ar (Likud) Minister of Internal Affairs
Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) Minister of Education
Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beitenu) Minister of Internal Security
Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) Minister of Housing and Construction
Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) Minister of Health
Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu) Minister of Tourism
Yisrael Katz (Likud) Minister of Transportation, National Infrastructure, and Road Safety
Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beitenu) Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Yael German (Yesh Atid) Minister of Welfare and Social Services
Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid) Minister of Science and Technology
Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi) Minister of Culture and Sport
Amir Peretz (Livni Party) Minister of Environmental Protection
Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beitenu) Minister of Immigrant AbsorptionLikud Ministers Erdan, Livnat, Shalom and Steinitz are expected to fight over these 4 portfolios:Minister of Communications
Minister of Energy and Water
Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galil
Minister of Home Front Defense

This gives Israel a very Rightist Cultural Agenda and a moderate socioeconomic one. Everything Bennett and Jewish Home wanted.

As an added bonus for Bennett, he got play lead mediator between Likud and Yesh Atid in the last few days, thus cementing his usefulness to both groups.

Well we have the big winner(s). Who were the big losers? First of all Tzipi Livni. Sure she got the Justice Ministry that she so badly wanted. and sure Amir Peretz got the Environmental post but here is her webpage.

Notice her priorities, the very first thing she talks about is Peace and the Two State solution. Supposedly Livni was promised the role of being in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians. How is that going to work out with a hard rightist agenda concerning the West Bank? Even Lapid has publicly stated that he doesn’t want Livni in this role, and Yair Shamir went even further by saying that while Netanyahu is committed to Bar-Ilan, his party sure as heck is not.

Then she talks about limiting subsidies to the Settlements. Well, again perhaps she is unfamiliar with her coalition partners policies? I mean maybe she doesn’t realize that Jewish Home and the Right wing of Likud (which is most of them) have no intention of slowing down the settlement process one bit.

So what will she get? The Justice Ministry and the Environmental Ministry in a time when budgets are going to be tightened. What is she going to be able to accomplish? In my opinion, not much in real terms. Her jumping into coalition and capitulating on her campaign slogans and promises dooms her future. In any upcoming elections she will have all the popularity of Shaul Mofaz and Kadima (if that much).

There are other winners here like the entire Rightist bloc and other losers like the Religious Parties (who I think will actually be better off with this), Likud moderates, and a moderate foreign agenda. But due to size restrictions that will have to wait for another time.

About the Author
Jon Segall is creator of the blog The Progressive Zionist. Jon has lived in Israel and studied Israeli and American Policy in the region. Currently Jon, is re-learning Hebrew, and is an active practitioner of the Israel Self Defense Martial Art Krav Maga.