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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Winners and Losers: Israel’s Historic Unity Government

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A joint JoeSettler-Jameel post. 

Left behind in the wake of Netanyahu’s surprise unity maneuver are some serious winners and loser. There is no doubt that elections would have shaken things up, but this unity coalition shakes up things even more.

What Netanyahu managed to do today is of historic proportions and has some serious ramifications for many people on both a personal and national level. We present to you our list of winners and losers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Winner. Bibi would probably have done well in elections, but now he runs the largest unity government ever in the history of Israel, giving him a support base not even Ben-Gurion could have dreamed of.  

 

Shaul Mofaz: Winner. Mofaz made a fool out of himself when he jumped ship to Kadima, but after sitting it out on the back benches behind Tzipi Livni on the back benched, he’s manages to come out on top and resuscitate the essentially dead Kadima party.

 

Kadima Party: Winner Until yesterday they were completely irrelevant and simply dead in the water; the largest individual party in the Knesset was forced to face the fact that they might as well not even have been voted into office. Now they have a seat at the table, and perhaps some influence too.

 

Tzipi Livni: Loser She could have been in the government 3 years ago, 2 years ago, and even 1 year ago. This could have been her and not Mofaz. At the end of the day, Kadima was kept in failure and disgrace because of her. Now it’s obvious to all.

 

Likud Party: Winner The Likud as a party is more powerful than ever.

 

Likud MKs: Losers For the most part, their individual influence and power has been diluted. Perhaps significantly.

 

Labor: Losers They were positioned to be the second largest party. Who knows what will be in a year and a half. They may be in for an even bigger shock in the opposition (see Ahmed Tibi below).  

 

Shelly Yachimovitch: Black eye Labor lost, but Shelly only got a black eye out of this. Perhaps she’ll lead the Tel Aviv summer block party, if it happens.  

 

Yisrael Beiteinu: Winner/Loser Yisrael Beiteinu didn’t really want elections, so this is good for them. The downside, their influence has been diluted, perhaps almost completely. One of the goals of this unity coalition is to implement a good replacement for the Tal law. It may happen. Yisrael Beiteinu may even get part of the credit for it, so they can at least bask in the reflected glory.  

 

Avigdor Lieberman: Loser Lieberman will keep his job, avoid elections, and get the opportunity to try to pass more laws he wants. But on the downside, the investigation(s) against him will now continue, and his influence has been severely diminished. We’ll see if he can make a comeback out of this.  

 

Ahmed Tibi: Winner What does Ahmed Tibi have to do with this? It’s simple math. Depending on a few factors, there will be only around 26 MKs in the opposition. The Arab have the largest number of opposition members compared to Labor, Meretz (and maybe Ichud Leumi). Ahmed Tibi is poised to be the new head of the opposition.  

 

Meretz: Losers Outside, irrelevant, no following, and not going to be opposition leader. Not even the Tel Aviv summer block party will be able to help them.  

 

Aryeh Deri: Loser No explanation needed.

 

Shas: Winners See Aryeh Deri above.  

 

Yair Lapid: Loser No explanation needed, but we’ll give one anyway. Sure he can go back to TV and perhaps try again next year, but he really lost his opportunity, even as his followers lost their enthusiasm for him the longer he stayed in the race.

 

President Obama: Loser Obama is a partisan president, while Bibi is the leader of the largest national unity coalition in the history of Israel. Netanyahu has the support of most of the country behind him for whatever he may need to do. Obama may have hoped he’d be facing a weaker Bibi after November, there’s no chance of that now.  

 

Dagan, Diskin, etc.: Losers Netanyahu and Barak are messianists, and irrational? Well, then add Mofaz too, and 80% of the Knesset. Now the former security chiefs sound like sore losers.  

 

Ehud Barak: Winner He still has a job.

 

Yuval Zellner: Winner Yuval Who? We asked the same thing. Zellner just replaced Livni in the Knesset. Until this morning, he was going to go down in history as one of the shortest serving MKs (who would never get a second chance at it either). Now he gets a chance to serve.  

 

Moshe Feiglin: Loser (Netanyahu election shenanigans aside) Moshe would have done well in elections. It remains to be seen if Likud MKs will still have as much influence in the unity government, because right now his influence is through them. On the other hand, there’s a slight chance he may be entering the Knesset as a new MK to replace someone else who might be leaving. In which case, he will become a winner.  

 

Chareidi Parties: Losers In or out of the coalition, it doesn’t matter. Some new, improved Tal law will pass, and that battle will be lost. Now it’s up to them to decide if they want to work together to make it a good law or not.  

 

The Chareidim: Winners A new version of the Tal law will pass that will help integrate Chareidim into the work force and perhaps the army/national service, removing them from the cycle of poverty they’re currently in. And they’ll still be able to learn Torah. Exactly how good things turn out for them will depend on what their parties fight for and what they’re leaders are willing to compromise on.

 

Mafdal-Bayit Yehud-Ichud Leumi: Winners Really! They are just as irrelevant now (on a legislative level) as they were before, and they probably weren’t going to do that much better in the next election. But at least they got their act together and learned they can unify. That’s a very good thing. Hopefully it will last.

 

Ichud Leumi: No difference In or out of the coalition, it won’t make much of a difference, but do they really want to sit outside with just Meretz, Labor and the Arab parties?

 

Ulpana, Beit El: Losers The Supreme Court just decided to only give the government 2 weeks to destroy the homes. The new unity government is likely to do it. But they’ll probably compensate the owners at least. We’ll know in a few weeks if they are really losers here or not.  

 

Settlements: Winners (hopefully) For the most part, we won’t see another Hitnatkut (expulsion), and Bibi may eventually legalize more outposts and pass laws to help others, perhaps even annex settlement blocks or Area C. As long they stay out of direct conflict with the Supreme Court, individual settlements should be safe. Overall the Settlement Enterprise should be OK.  

 

Supreme Court: Winner Kadima is on their side, and will block legislation that will put limits on their extrajudicial expanded powers.

 

Israel’s Political Media Pundits: Losers They’re like deer in the headlights, they were completely surprised by what happened.  

 

Israel: Winners As an aside Israel saved NIS 400 million on election costs. National Unity is a good thing (for all the vague reasons). It also means that the country is united in whatever challenges it may need to face with Iran. Perhaps we’ll also see a real revamping of the government system.

 

The Palestinians: N/A They don’t even have a pony in this race.

 

Iranian Government: Losers There’s a much higher probability that with such a large, stable unity government, and with (the Iranian) Mofaz at Bibi’s side, that a strike against Iran’s nuclear weapon production facilities is very likely.  

 

The Iranian People: Winners Perhaps there will be more outside support to help them overthrow the Islamic regime, now that there is a stronger Israel. 

 

The Jewish People: Winners
National unity is a good thing in religious thought. So overall, this should be good for the Jews.

About the Author: Jameel blogs at the Muqata: http://www.muqata.com, but these days extensively posts on Facebook. Follow Jameel at https://www.facebook.com/Muqata Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.


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10 Responses to “Winners and Losers: Israel’s Historic Unity Government”

  1. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Mofaz came out good for himself in this latest flip-flop. But what about next time?

  2. Barry Weintraub says:

    This will be interesting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I disagree regarding Feiglin. I wouldn't be surprised if this move was spurred on in part by Netanyahu's week stance vis-a-vis his own party due in no small part to Feiglins growing power base. Feiglin is in this for the long run and never set getting into the knesset as a goal. Support for Feiglin is only getting stronger and according to some reports prior to this move he was probably going to be in top 10 of Likud. I doubt that will change when the elections actually occur.

  4. Batya Medad says:

    Jameel, I don't think a coalition this large and powerful is good for the country. There should be a strong opposition as Israel's version of checks and balances. You left out that Mofaz had been looking for a way back into Likud, which I quoted <a href="http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2012/05/bibis-coalition-surprise-mofaz-joins-no.html?spref=bl"&gt; here</a>.

  5. I read Likud MK Tzpi Hotovely said this was big win for the nationalist settlement movement…Still wonder how the residents of eastern Jerusalem, Yehuda, and Shomron will manage..more building or less?

  6. DantheMan says:

    Ublike how they accept the draft dodging by Bar Rafaeli and Aviv Gefen.

  7. The Charedim cannot be happy. They see the handwriting on the wall. The vast majority of Israelis can no longer tolerate the draft-dodging.

  8. The Charedim cannot be happy. They see the handwriting on the wall. The vast majority of Israelis can no longer tolerate the draft-dodging.

  9. Interesting blog – cannot agree with your assessment that Settlements will, hopefully, be on the side of the winners – wasn't it Mofaz who wanted to give away all of Judea and Samaria? He has made some wildly conflicting statements.
    but has never contradicted this one -
    interested in your more in depth look at this.

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