May 18, 2016

Deri takes strong stand on Shas in a unity government that he encouraged

I have no way of guessing what is going to happen with the possible formation of a unity government - will it happen or not? Which parties will join and which will not? Which parties will leave the coalition and which will stay? Which ministries and positions will be taken from which parties and be offered to whom? These are all questions, and we will find out the answers soon enough. I believe that the announcements and declarations made in public over the past few days by all the various parties are all smoke screens and give no indication of what is actually happening.

The one interesting statement I heard was from Minister Aryeh Deri. Deri said that Shas will not give up anything, any of its positions and ministries, to make room for any incoming parties. Any seats that will be transferred to any of the joining parties will have to be taken from other parties, according to Deri's statement.

That is a bold statement. He must be just posturing to put himself in a position to give up as little as possible. The coalition is built with a set of ministries per number of seats held. No party can continue to hold on to the same number of seats when the "key" is changing and other parties have to give up some seats and hold less positions for the same number of seats. Plus, Deri himself has been pushing, supposedly, for a long time to bring in more coalition partners. He cannot seriously now insist that Netanyahu do so but only at everyone else's expense.

I am sure he is hoping to be forced to give as little as possible and this is a negotiating tactic. He surely also realizes that, depending on exactly who joins and how large the new coalition becomes, his party will have become as expendable as any of the other small parties, and insisting on too much could lead to him being on the way out...

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