According to News12 reporter Amit Segal, today, President Isaac Herzog, who was appointed by the Knesset on July 7, 2021, so this would be his first new government, will hear on Wednesday two words he has yet to hear: “Ala Beyadi,” which has no direct parallel in English, but means roughly, “I managed,” or “I did it.”
The traditional announcement will come 37 days after the Nov. 1 election, not so bad as coalition cobbling goes. Some of them took more than two months. This one was supposed to be done in mid-November, two weeks after the right’s 64-mandate victory. But then it turned out that no one in his bloc, including members of his Likud party, trusts Benjamin Netanyahu. They all insisted to write everything down in extensive coalition agreements, because of Bibi’s tendency to renege on his verbal promises.
Netanyahu is expected to inform the president that “ala beyadi” by midnight Wednesday, and then he’ll have a week to swear in his government. If he fails, he gets no extensions and the country returns to political chaos.
Update: With minutes to spare before midnight, Netanyahu informed Herzog it is in his hands to form the government.
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) December 21, 2022
Netanyahu now has to deal mainly with handing out positions to members of his party and neutralizing the disgruntled opposition within Likud. To this end, he succeeded yesterday in passing a law requiring a minimum of seven MKs who wish to desert their party. Seeing as his coalition partners each have between seven and ten MKs, the new law is all about blocking the path of Likud deserters.
That’s the stick. On the carrot side, the prime minister-designate is determined to give at least one of his biggest enemies within a position that’s big enough to smother any possible association against him. In that sense, Israeli politics is always Act 3 Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” only the name in “Et tu, Brute?” changes.
In recent days, Netanyahu’s team has been negotiating with MK Dudi Amsalem, who refused to hear about any offers other than Speaker of the Knesset of Justice Minister. Otherwise, he would prefer to remain a full-working MK – and that’s the worst place to have him lurking as far as the next PM is concerned.
Another disgruntled MK is Danny Danon, who’s been making the media rounds insisting he should be the Speaker. Danon, a former UN envoy, sees the Speaker’s post as a stepping stone to the presidency. How can Bibi begrudge his dream? So, while the Likud chairman is mulling his offer, Danon has been AWOL – traveling abroad, appearing in conferences, at the time his vote in the plenum is most crucial.
The juicy positions left for Netanyahu to dole out are Speaker of the Knesset, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, and Transport Minister. There are 16 portfolios altogether for Likud MKs, but most of them are less prestigious: culture and sports, the economy – low budgets and lots of ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
If everything does come together, most expect the new government won’t be sworn in before January 2023, which leave some time for horse trading.