The Habayit Hayehudi party on Wednesday approved by a 68% majority the coalition agreement signed by Minister Rafi Peretz with the Likud. 295 people voted out of 968 members of the party center, a 30.3% turnout.
So, not a sweeping excitement there.
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Rafi Peretz said after receiving the results: “Habayit Hayehudi, despite all the background noise, proved to be a solid foundation for Religious Zionism and a vibrantly democratic party. I am glad that on the eve of Jerusalem Day, when we celebrate the unification of the city, the Habayit Hayehudi center voted for unity and reconciliation in the nation.”
Come on, a 30.3% showing is “vibrantly democratic?”
Meanwhile, the folks Peretz knifed in the back at Yamina, and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu announced Thursday morning that they had formed a joint axis in the opposition, as a counter-force against the Joint Arab List.
Yamina and Israel Beiteinu have 12 mandated together, against the 15 mandates of the Arabs. Yesh Atid is the largest opposition faction with 16 mandates, and party chairman Yair Lapid is also leader of the opposition. The job entails receiving security briefings once a month, which is why many in Israel are happy Lapid beat Ayman Odeh for the job.
The goal of the Bennett-Liberman axis is to force Yesh Atid to stay in the Jewish-Zionist lane and avoid nasty deals with the Arabs. They also want their share in committee chairmanships. So far, the Knesset State Audit Committee is expected to go to a Yesh Atid chairman, and the committee to prevent violence in the Arab sector will go to the Joint Arab List (although Liberman could have probably offer a few suggestions in that committee). There are two remaining committee chairmanships, and Bennett and Liberman want to split those.
Another goal of the Bennett-Liberman alliance is to bombard the Likud prime minister with rightwing bills that will embarrass Netanyahu and set him up for failure in the settlements come next election. These will surely include laws to unfreeze construction in Judea and Samaria, and the big one: impose sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the Settlement blocs, which neither Netanyahu nor Gantz are really serious about doing, judging from the total absence of the much celebrated subject from the coalition platform.