Mar 7, 2007

good job, Litzman

MK Yaakov Litzman did a great job today. He played his best hand and won the round.

As part of the coalition agreement between Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu, Yisrael Beiteinu is supposed to be given control of the position of Chairman of the Finance Committee. This is one of the most powerful committees in the Knesset.

Amazingly, this position has, until now, been held by Litzman of UTJ. I say "amazingly" because UTJ was not part of the government coalition. UTJ has been sitting in the opposition, as they say their demands in exchange for joining the coalition have not been agreed to.

PM Olmert, in an attempt to keep the members of UTJ happy and thereby hopefully keep the negotiating table open to them, has allowed Litzman of the Opposition to hold onto this position until now. He did this along with not having appointed a Minister of ocial Affairs, which he said he was holding for UTJ as well.

Olmert finally could not wait any longer. He was pressured for more positions by Yisrael Beiteinu. He was under pressure from the public and from the courts to appoint a Minister of Social Affairs. He could no longer delay. He gave UTJ an ultimatum which they rejected. Olmert went to his next option of a ministerial shuffle. This included transferring the Ministry of Social Affairs to the Labor Party, transferring the Ministry of Tourism to Yisrael Beiteinu, and proceeding with the appointment of Majdale of Labor to the position of Minister of Science, Culture and Sport.

The problem is that the whole shuffle is dependant on Litzman evacuating his seat. He will not go down without a fight and he proved it today. He says he holds no illusions and knows eventually the coalition will succeed in getting rid of him, yet he has decided not to resign, as has been requested of him by the chairman of the coalition, rather he is forcing them to vote him out.

Litzman is, for some reason, popular among the committee members. They seem to like him and say he does a great job at the position. A number of the members refuse to vote to remove him because they are calling it petty politics behind his removal and consider it shameful to remove a successful chairperson for these reasons. Eventually this obstacle will be overcome and he will be replaced. It is unavoidable.

In the past I have not been a big fan of Litzman. He is considered very "kochani" - he uses political aggressiveness and power moves to advance his positions, both in the Knesset and in his party, UTJ.

However, in his latest move I applaud him. I think he played this one out masterfully, showing how tenuous Olmert's position and leadership really is. Now they will have to go through a messy attempt at removing him, as members who voted today against are saying they will not support such a vote unless Olmert gives them x, y and z (money for their interests).

Kol Hakavod to Litzman for playing this one quietly and masterfully.


  1. somehow my submissions to havel havalim often don't make get posted, so i'm leaving them here.

  2. no problem - I will include them... btw, I already included the second before you wrote this..

  3. Did you include mine already? (Before I go to the trouble LOL).

  4. israeli politics is wierd. i mean all politics is "baby-ish" but israeli ones seem especially "baby-ish".

  5. whats- I am not sure what you mean by "babyish"

  6. Rav Ovadia supports Litzman too.

    See here


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