Netanyahu has one, central and burning issue—besides his own career, of course—and that’s Iran. No other concern comes even close. In his mind, the coming year will usher in a confrontation with our arch enemy, and when that moment comes, Netanyahu does not wish to remain bereft of friends in the West, especially not in the White House.
This is why he will revive the peace process, freeze settlement construction, evacuate Jewish homes. Not because he is an enemy of the settlement movement or because he loves the idea of a Palestinian state. He simply views those issues as secondary to the existential challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear threat.
With that in mind, Netanyahu will not turn to his right in search of coalition partners. Those will have to come from the “near” left parties: Labor, Livni, Lapid. Or, possibly two out of those three and the Ashkenazi Haredim from Torah Judaism, who come with a predictable, convenient price tag.
Netanyahu already announced that he is ready to do war with Shas over the Ministry of Housing, because he needs it as a dowry to the left, to satisfy their voters’ outcries of unfairness in awarding government sponsored housing to secular couples.
This, of course, could turn out to be a lie, and if Shas becomes a crucial component of a stable coalition government, they might end up retaining their prized possession.
Another Netanyahu statement that could turn out to be just a lie is what he said Wednesday night about Tzipi Livni not serving as his Foreign Minister, ever, absolutely, no way. He is determined to keep the Foreign office on hold for his partner, Liberman. If need be, Netanyahu will serve as FM until Liberman concludes his court affairs.
He also said that Livni would not be permitted near the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Those used to be Livni’s two specialties in the Ehud Olmert government, before Olmert ended up mired in his own court affairs. And some folks on the inside have said she was pretty good at both assignments.
What would Netanyahu do should Livni insist on running the Foreign Ministry, and peace negotiations, while Liberman would be following politics from behind bars? She might just get it.
When Netanyahu denies some things vehemently – you can be almost certain he’s lying and has no intention of actually doing what he promises. This time he not only denies planning to give Livni her choice appointments, he even denies having sent her emissaries to negotiate anything at all.
She’s practically a shoo-in.