Short backup: Lieberman quit the government and PM Netanyahu found his remaining 61/120 slim coalition too small and went to the polls. In the three ensuing passionate elections, his coalition did not even get 60 seats.
Bibi and Tibi won the most. The statements that Bibi had won or Bibi had lost the election are both untrue. Truth is that most voters voted for their own interests and the politicians elected refuse to work across the aisle.
Haaretz, in typical left-wing racist fashion, opined that it was not Israeli Muslim Arabs who made the Arab block grow but left-wing Jews. No credit whatsoever to Arab voters. Why is left-wing racism so hard to erase?
Most likely, the larger Arab vote cost Netanyahu his majority (by making each seat ‘cost’ more votes). And not the handful of votes that were lost when cast for a futile ultra-right racist party that didn’t pass the threshold.
But in any case, his coalition was never close to 65 seats.
His Likud still came out the largest party but even if Bibi gets asked to try form a government, that would be just a two-week stay of execution.
For the record: Many already said that the precautionary coronavirus seclusions that are now going on remind them of the mandatory isolation at the spiritual malady Tzara’at (Exodus 4:6, Leviticus 13:46, Numbers 12:14-15). The Sages tell us that Tzara’at is a punishment for evil speech by morally very high-standing people. And this wave of quarantine comes just after our election season. (Note: This is not to say that the people now sick or under house arrest were the ones participating in the slander.)
Why did Bibi loose? It was a DIY. He said ‘me or no-one.’ The opposition countered: anyone but him. This cuts out the possibility for a centrist majority unity government between the two largest blocks. As the Sages teach us: Grab a lot and you get nope.
BTW: This seems the same mistake US democratic socialist Bernie Sanders made: Being uncompromising. Wanting to be pure, he refused to phase in his health plans, didn’t want to give just a bit more standing to Palestinian leaders. No, it had to be an all or nothing. He’s ending up with nothing.
(Who becomes US president in November may well be decided by whom of the 3 old contenders left standing is going to survive the coronavirus.)
Viv-à-vis the coronavirus, Netanyahu shows excellent leadership. Compare that to Trump whose ignorance and assault on healthcare now kill people.
I think it’s a pity to have Bibi’s experience and expertise go down the drain. I shudder at what amateurs and novices are ready to take over.
And novel they are at it. They just messed up negotiating with the Arab block. While the middle-eastern shuk was just under way, three of its new MKs bolted. So now also their 61-seats support crumbled.
But just like totally ignorant Trump simply continued Obama’s momentum, Gantz will not be able to mess up too much of what Bibi has built. Iran will solve itself. And after 10 years of capitalist reign, some correction in the other direction is highly needed. As Reb Shlomo used to say: Just as a bird needs two wings, Jews need both the left and the right to get anywhere.
Once Gantz gets his act and minority cabinet backed by the Arab block together, the religious parties may volunteer to join. Bibi can’t dump them and join Gantz, because they would never trust him again. But they don’t owe Netanyahu. They are pragmatic enough to join a government to have influence rather than sit powerlessly on the bench for four years.
Netanyahu will becomes president, after being acquitted at the trials and tour the world as Israel’s prime ambassador, like Peres did. Meanwhile, the Likud under Barkat will, after the next elections in four years, join the left for a centrist government without the religious or Arab parties.
Hang in there — it will get better.
Plan B: A Temporary National Emergency Unity Government
My teacher Harvey Jackins always said: Make sure you have at least two ideas how to move forward so that your brain is in gear.
In war time, Israelis know how to unite. It’s war time. The enemy is tiny but can be lethal — irrespective of background. Because of the pandemic, all parties in the Knesset decide to participate in a Temporary National Emergency Unity Coalition. Everybody will get some of what they want, nobody gets everything. Emergencies can make for strange bedfellows. Therefore several very special ministerial peculiarities may be noticed:
● Most ministries will have two part-time ministers who between themselves need to work out most compromises. (Together they will have one car with driver. They will mostly meet virtually so that if one needs to go into isolation, the other can still be about.)
● All sectors of the population will be fairly represented. (The big cities, the North, the South, Jerusalem, the Muslims, the ultra-Orthodox, the National Religious, the Atheists, Democratic Socialists, Capitalists, all age groups, the handicapped, you name it.)
● More than half of the ministers need to have at least one grandparent from an Arab country (Muslim or Mizrachic).
● Most ministers don’t need to be the most “powerful” politicians around. (Especially the most needlessly insincere politicians are asked to be MKs.)
● Netanyahu and Gantz will both be PM at the same time.
● The majority of the ministers will be women and many of the ministers will be gay. This to facilitate that the win-win principle is properly translated into a win-win mentality by all.
There will be many compromises to work out. Everyone gets some of what they want:
● The two Finance Ministers will be a capitalist and a socialist. Give the poor more money so that society works better and the rich then get more money too.
● The two Foreign Ministers need to have one Muslim now the Muslim world wants Israel’s expertise to stop their pandemics. People temporarily out of a job because of the virus will get money to live from but also unfilled jobs to do. (Pilots as building inspectors, tourist shop keepers as visitors of the infected and people in isolation, dock workers as builders.)
● Arab Israelis don’t get a Law of Return but there will be something that will have some resemblance to it when more Gentile Palestinians abroad are helped to resettle. (A Jewish majority will be guaranteed now Jews from the whole world flock to live here, not just because of increased anti-Semitism but also because we now shine so brightly as a lighthouse unto the nations in areas as science, security, medicine, climate change, and now also survival.)
● The (new) Ministers for the West Bank will be a Muslim and a National Religious Jew, etc. Everyone who lives there longs for a better life.
● There will be a free Sunday, free public transportation on the Shabbat (the drivers all Gentile), Jewish education by religious Jews in all schools, civil marriage, an easy path to conversion for all Gentiles living here.
● Special care will there be for the less powerful like the homeless (one sick homeless person could infect so many people), the poor (get them some of what they need most), children (a Minister for Child Affairs).
Could this really happen or is this too good to be true? Well, if most people could dear to dream like this, why would it be impossible? Say to the aggressive principle crazed: “It’s only temporary until the crisis subsides.” (And by that time, maybe it became the new normal.)
No, I wasn’t stoned or drunk when I wrote this. Just a little brainstorming.
A tiny bit of hope instead of hopelessness might get you there too.