Click here to see the Knesset session with English simultaneous translation.
In Israel, everything is always upside-down. So, the victory speech of the new PM and the Maiden speech of the new leader of the opposition were held before the vote. A vote no one could know for sure how it would go.
Of course, it all didn’t matter. Members of Knesset had to wave flags, hold up placards with their opinions, shout their disapproval, or clap from approval — all of which is forbidden by Knesset decorum rules. Numerous delegates were removed. But everyone knew it was a big show. Except for the head of the Knesset who twice re-removed Members expelled who stealthily re-entered. At a later date, they will each be punished.
Now, I listened to the speech of the supposedly incoming PM. He will fight for the interests of all Israelis, including those whose representatives will be in the opposition. After that, the supposedly outgoing PM spoke explaining that he represents the majority of Israel’s voters. How can this be true at the same time?
I was thinking back at my second job ever, kitchen assistant in a retirement home. Doling out the plates was an important moment. One day, each of the meat-eaters would get 3 thin slices of roast beef. No, the chef cook told me, don’t pile them up. Spread them out in a hand fan shape. It will seem more. Isn’t that dishonest? No, it’s a matter of elegantly presenting.
That’s what the speakers did. Saying ‘We will also represent the ultra-Orthodox’ is a nice principle. Yet, in the elections, they did not vote for such a coalition. And this coalition will try to effectuate stuff most ultra-Orthodox abhor. It’s still nice to say you don’t see yourself as their enemy in return. It’s not lying; it’s a matter of elegantly presenting.
Clearly, the supposedly upcoming PM tricked his voters. They chose him thinking it was a vote for a coalition between the right and the secular. Instead, they get a broad coalition that’s not right-wing. This trick can be done only once. Next elections, most right-wing voters will punish any right-winger who joined this coalition. But for now, they have a field day.
That’s another Israeli unwritten law. Here, everything is always in flux. So, long-term planning is a waste of time. It’s best to just take care of the problems just in front of you. Later will come later — if it does at all.
(Lapid, alternate PM, did not hold his speech. I never caught him saying a truth. Neither when he ‘explained’ that he was too ashamed to speak in the turmoil. Rather, he didn’t hold his prepared speech because it started that a new era of peace that had arrived. And the pandemonium in the Knesset made clear that era hasn’t arrived yet — not even in the Knesset.)
It was good to see the main speakers not lying. It was only a matter of elegant presentation. No one can know if this coalition will last an hour or four years. But, as long as it lasts, it will keep Israelis glued to the news.
Netanyahu: 59, Bennett 60, one person abstained.
Among the 27 ministers, I counted these minorities: 1 wheelchair-bound woman, 18 men, 16 Caucasians, 5 men with yarmulkas, 2 Muslims, 1 Ethiopian Jew, and 1 openly Gay man. It reminded me of how much more diverse the cabinet of US President Biden is compared to his predecessor, though it did have far fewer Jews than Bennett’s team has.
A feast among the large anti-Netanyahu blog has burst forth. The left has not felt any hope ever since PM Rabin was assassinated. Also, it’s good to celebrate now, since the new coalition will not meet any period of grace.