A new unity government was formed in Israel during the last week and in order to properly discuss the ins and outs of the new government and its foundation, the Jewish Press’ Yishai Fleisher is joined by Jeremy Man Saltan, an insider on the Israeli Knesset and host of the definitive English-language Knesset blog. Together, they discuss the situation that created the new government including a wide-reaching agreement between Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and leader of Kadima Shaul Mofaz to create an overwhelming coalition government. Specifics about the new government are discussed along with thoughts on how long it could last.
Posts Tagged ‘New Knesset’
The Israeli elections are over. New Knesset members have been sworn in. Ehud Olmert resigned several weeks ago, and his party will not form the new government. Despite all this, Ehud Olmert is still the Prime Minister of Israel!
Unfortunately, what I wrote several weeks ago about the Israeli government has come true. Olmert can still negotiate in Israel’s name, and his agreements will still be binding on the new government. The law in Israel does not require that a prime minister, or any minister, be a member of the Knesset. In the past, politicians were appointed as ministers and resigned their Knesset seats to allow the next member of their party to become a Knesset member. Olmert’s government is a “transition” government, and the law states that a minister is required to remain in his post until a new government is formed.
Until a new government coalition is organized, the old ministers will remain in power and the old government will continue to rule. Despite the fact that Netanyahu was asked by President Peres to form a new government, the complexity of the current negotiations with the smaller parties in order to build a majority coalition will require a great deal of time and will involve difficult “horse-trading” for Netanyahu. Olmert will remain Prime Minister until Netanyahu succeeds in forming a coalition.
The need to entice small parties to join the coalition in order to reach a majority of at least 61 Knesset members gives these small parties the power to make huge demands upon Netanyahu. They are demanding large amounts of money for their pet projects, ministerial positions for their leaders, and guarantees that their ideological demands will be met. How will Netanyahu convince the religious parties to accept civil marriages and lighter conversion requirements or convince Lieberman’s Russian party to drop its “non-Jewish” demands? All of these parties are needed to form a majority government.
Even though Netanyahu is right-wing, he is pushing hard to try to get Tzipi Livni and the centrist-Leftist Kadima Party to join his government. If they joined, he would be able to exclude the religious parties or the anti-religious parties from his coalition and save the Israeli economy millions of dollars in small party demands. Even if they joined together, the Likud and Kadima would not have 61 seats and would still be required to negotiate with at least one of the smaller parties.
Kadima would also allow the Likud to compromise with the Arabs and give away whole sections of Israel and Jerusalem. It would also show all of those religious voters who voted for the Likud that they erred when they voted for a non-religious party (but, I guess they never would admit it).
In the meantime, Olmert is planning to negotiate away more of Israel to the Arabs. He seems to be pushed by the new American administration that so many Jews voted for. The new U.S. Government seems willing to curtail aid to Israel and to negotiate with terrorist entities against Israel’s interests.
Rockets are still falling on Southern Israel and the government is doing little to stop it. Please increase your prayers against the current embodiments of Haman who wants to destroy Israel, and pray that a Mordechai and Esther will step forward to save us from disaster.
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