From last Wednesday:
Little did I know on Wednesday how close that title fit to post-election events.
UPDATE: Bibi may be on his way out.
Senior members of the Zionist Union party confirmed to Maariv on Sunday reports that the party's head, Yitzhak Herzog, offered Kulanu's Chairman, Moshe Kahlon, senior portfolios and a Prime Ministerial rotation, if Kahlon would align himself with him.
According to the sources, “The possibility is being looked into. Herzog is speaking with all possible partners.”
That is a vastly better deal than Moshe Kahlon and Kulanu could ever get with Netanyahu and Likud.
ZU = 24 seats
Joint List (Arab Israelis) = 13 seats
Yesh Atid = 11 seats
Kulanu = 10 seats
Meretz = 5 seats
Total = 63 seats, enough to form a government. Plus likely participation from
United Torah Judaism = 6
For a stable coalition government at 69 seats. If Shas came in that would make it 76 seats with 63 from Jewish parties and the 13 from the Arabs.
If so, that's the end of Great Victory / Mission Accomplished talk about Bibi in 2015.
– – – – – – Prior to today's news – – – – – – –
Bibi's effort to make a new government hangs on satisfying a felon. He also has to satisfy another party — Kulanu, domestically a clone of America's Democrats — that demands shutting down Israeli corruption.
America's corporate press trumpet their “news” that Bibi Netanyahu won a big victory in the March 17th election in Israel. Really ??? The Likud Party's overall coalition lost 4 seats in that election. On top of that the new Kulanu Party insists on Clean Government, so there's another 10 seats that might be added to the 4 already lost.
Likud and potential coalition partners could be down 14 seats, even getting all time record turnouts from the Arab-hating “settlers” living in the West Bank areas near Jerusalem. That's not my idea of a great victory. What do I know?
Israel always has coalition governments, so where do these results put things?
Bibi needs 61 votes in the 120 seat Knesset to make a coalition. Times of Israel, a corporatist outlet if nothing else, claims these parties are on board to meet that standard: Netanyahu's Likud (30 seats), Kulanu (10), Jewish Home (8), Shas (7) and United Torah Judaism (6).
61 on the nose.
“Oi, vey, mistah….” To quote Barbra Streisand. Here we go again. The Bibi clown show gets in gear.
Aryeh Deri took bribes. He did time for it. Two years in prison. Now he's the head of Shas, the main Sephardic Israeli political party.
A clown drunk on hash could not make this up. And Deri want Interior, where there's more than three shekels to be handed out. Bibi has to pay off the felon to make a government.
Yisrael Beytenu (6 seats) is not in this combo as its leader, Avigdor Liberman, is reportedly holding out for Defense. That puts Yisrael Beytenu at odds with Likud loyalists who back Moshe Yaalon to stay in that position. The YBs are Russians… more on them below.
What's the point of Likud winning 30 seats at the price of pandering a perpetual race war with the Palestinians, if they turn around and give away the plum appointments?
If Bibi loses the felon, even if he gets the Russians and holds Kulanu/Democrats then he can only reach 60 votes with his nominal allies.
Then on Saturday of all days, the Sabbath, word got around that Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party raised objections to putting a felon in the Cabinet. Israel has some ethical standards, right?
Where do matters stand ???
What holds water?
Bibi has more problems than seeing a very unstable 61 votes as his target. The big, big problem now is that nobody trusts him. Overall, political Israelis trust Bibi less than they trust the felon, Aryeh Deri.
If anything it looks like Bibi/Likud are as likely to lose Kulanu as they are to pick up Yisrael Beytenu (the Russians.) Losing Kulanu would leave the process deadlocked. Likud has no route to 61 votes in a government that it controls.
Let's go down a list where public information conflicts with where Bibi Netanyahu and Likud Party need to have things go to make a government:
— Kulanu: Moshe Kahlon, head of Kulanu, said the morning after the election that the Kulanu campaign platform is his central condition. Otherwise, there will be no coalition of Kulanu with Likud.
That is not a statement that he supports Netanyahu and Likud. We've seen a dozen leaks out of Likud claiming that Kahlon and his party are in it for a coalition. Not true, not yet.
Platform for Kulanu in English is below the fold. Looks to me like the Democratic Party here in the the U.S. None of it, not a line, not a phrase matches to NeoCon Likud.
For positions in the government, that starts with the Finance Ministry. Taking away the Ministry of Housing and Construction is also top line. That means taking Housing from Jewish Home and its leader Naftali Bennett, which sounds impossible going in. But who knows?
Likud would have to pay off Jewish Home with some other post(s) in the Cabinet. I don't know how that is possible.
Eli Alaluf, of Kulanu, seems a natural for the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. That office could expand to do some Internal Absorption (my phrase) for the ultraOrthodox and for Israeli Arabs, who are as much outside the main economy as immigrants.
One can hope.
Demanding the Defense Ministry for Yoav Galant, the #2 in Kulanu, is a dream. He'll be used somewhere else as an elected Member of Knesset.
The Israel Lands Administration office doesn't sound like much. Thing is, this crew/gang has generated corruption up and down the country. Moshe Kahlon featured this issue in his stump speech and on television. The promise from Kulanu is to release 250,000 building permits immediately and cut the overall delays in half.
That's taking the political battle to where the big fraud money rolls in. Likud is going to let that go ??? See its cash cow get slaughtered? That's what happens to get Kulanu's 10 votes and make a government.
In effect, Likud & Friends lost 4 votes at the ballot box and another 10 votes to Kulanu. Likud's friends aren't much in the “friend” attribute.
— Shas: this religious party can't help themselves. With a felon controlling negotiations Shas could get an agreement on paper, a handshake with Bibi, then lose the top spot when the Knesset bumps him out middle of the second week.
And any government that depends on Shas votes would go away, same day.
— Yisrael Beytenu: is the Russians. These guys are so far right (a pack of unreconstructed Stalinists ?) that the Likudniks don't quite believe what they say during campaigns. One example from their web site:
A New Citizenship Law
In order to enjoy the full rights of an Israeli citizen, one must also take on responsibilities. We will work to enact a citizenship law, which will require all Israeli citizens to pledge allegiance to the State and perform military or alternative national service.
Uh, well… how does that match to getting well-educated, middle-aged Jews from the United States, Russia, and Europe? Turns out they want exemptions for other Russians.
Aim at Arabs, hit the Jewish immigrants. Gotta love these guys. Time on time they could borrow the “Moran” sign.
And they want the Defense job. Their leader is Avigdor Lieberman, who is over his head now as Minister of Foreign Affairs. At best Yisrael Beytenu is unstable at domestic policy.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Moshe Kahlon with Kulanu has positioned his group to take over every one of the big bribery, economic fraud positions. He and his party leaders are honest. Panfully honest by Israeli standards. Always have been. Get the graft all off the table, away from Bibi's thugs and the religious party sociopaths. (Below the fold for the platform in English.)
Gee, no fraud ????? No giveaway shekels? What's a Bibi to do?
A no-fraud government involving Bibi Netanyahu is frankly difficult to imagine. He has bought Knesset votes with corruption for years. Now his central group has 4 fewer seats for 2015.
The Kulanu Party (10 seats) insists on removing the big scams. Otherwise, they say there will be no government coalition.
A short-lived government? A dead lock in negotiations? Could Kulanu gets up on its hind feet and cobble together a center-left government without Likud but with “support” from the Arabs and their Joint List?
A center government with Kulanu, Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and Likud ??? (No minor parties. No leader because Likud is the only right wing party in that mix. It's 45 seats to Likud's 30.)
My bet on Israeli politics, today, goes to a fifth option: a mess. Just a mess.
One sure thing: corporate media in America will report another Great Triumph for Bibi. No doubt.