Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is the latest politician to let off steam against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his acrobatics in rounding out a coalition Cabinet.
The Prime Minister had promised on Jerusalem Unification Day that he would head the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry and work hand-in-hand with Barkat instead of letting someone else head the post.
Like all election promises, this one also was dependent on “other things being equal.” With the thinnest Knesset coalition majority possible, Netanyahu has performed enough juggling and tightrope-walking acts to qualify for the circus.
Barkat did not take into account that there are not enough Cabinet ministries to satisfy Likud bigwigs, even after Netanyahu split a couple – ministries, not the bigwigs – into two different departments…
He placated Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin by appointing him Minster of Jerusalem Affairs after being forced to take the Strategic Affairs post away from him in order to bring Gilad Erdan back into the Cabinet.
Erdan was not satisfied with the Public Affairs Ministry without having the additional responsibility for Strategic Affairs. Netanyahu yielded, set off another round of musical chairs and lit the fuse that blew Barkat off his mayoral throne.
“Jerusalem is not a consolation prize,” said Barkat, contradicting the fact that everything is a consolation prize in the current coalition.
He charged Prime Minister Netanyahu with wasting the taxpayers’ money for the sake of “narrow political considerations” that he thinks will hamper the development of Jerusalem.
Time will tell if he is right or wrong, and he probably is wrong.
As important as Jerusalem is to Barkat, as a politician, his own future is no less important. Doubling as major of Jerusalem and co-minister of Jerusalem Affairs would advance his political career.
Barkat has the right to be angry, but he has forgotten that as a politician, survival is the top priority, and Netanyahu considers his own survival more important than Barkat’s.