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May 11, 2015

Eichler puts coalition and UTJ in jeopardy

This morning I heard MK Yisrel Eichler a couple of times on the radio explain what he is making trouble about.

Eichler contacted the Prime Minister's people and requested to reopen the coalition agreement that had been signed with UTJ. Eichler feels it is unfair that UTJ signed the first agreement and was given jobs and responsibilities based on what would be the key for future negotiations, as far as how many MKs to deserve each task and how important of a position.

Based on that "key", UTJ was given a Deputy minister (Health for Litzman), head of the Finance Committee (Gafni), Deputy Speaker of the House, head of the Science and Technology committee (Maklev).

Eichler claims that after they signed the hey was broken, and the parties that signed later got much more, based on a different key. Ergo, according to Eichler, while they should have been given more to start with for being the first to sign, they actually got less than the other parties, and therefore he considers it reasonable to say they are deserving of more.

The news sites have different reports of what Eichler asked for and what he is threatening, but according to what he said on the radio he only asked that they trade the symbolic position of deputy speaker of the house for another head of a committee, specifically the Interior committee, and he did not make any explicit threats. He says he is not even asking for himself, as he would be fine if someone else in the party was given that position, but he says UTJ is deserving of it.

Also, when asked what the ramifications of his request are, and if he remains bound by coalition discipline or not, Eichler gave only vague answers. Eichler said there are no ramifications except for the  voters of UTJ feeling like they once again are being used and thrown away, and being treated like less deserving citizens than the voters of the other parties - the implication being more of a long term one, with the UTJ public less trusting in the future of the Likud and Netanyahu, and maybe even this term less reliable in supporting the coalition.

Eichler also said regarding being bound by the coalition agreement and coalition discipline that he (and UTJ) is only bound by what the rabbonim tell them to do.

I would suggest MK Eichler look around at the various news sites and forums and pay attention to how the public reacted to the demands and achievements of the Haredi public. Demanding more now, after the agreements were already signed and approved, will only increase the incitement and perhaps put the entire deal in jeopardy. The coalition is already shaky and unstable enough. A little worse, and Netanyahu might have to take the whole thing apart. All of UTJ's achievements could go right out the window, because of Eichler's request.

At a certain point the concept of Tafasta Meruba Lo Tafasta should be considered. Ask for too much and you very well might end up with nothing.

Regarding his statement about coalition discipline, something there rankled me. Yes, the UTJ position is that they listen to the rabbonim. Does that mean their signature and commitment is not worth the paper it is signed on? Their signature never actually binds them, as they only listen to the rabbonim?

If the rabbonim told them to sign, that means the rabbonim told them to remain committed and bound by coalition discipline. Why not just say the rabbonim said to be true to coalition discipline?

Rejecting coalition discipline means you are saying that your signature was tactical, but not really reliable, as at any time you can decide to act differently - obviously based on the rabbonim.

Eichler is setting UTJ up for a lot of trouble. I'd like to see if his fellow party members figure out how to silence him and get him in line. Unless the others agree and are using him as the one to raise the issues.

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  1. This may be an illustration of what's wrong in UTJ; but it also illustrates what's wrong with coalition hondling in general. How does Science and Technology get a committee head who has no higher education? How does that make sense?

  2. Why should Eichler back down? If the government falls and there's another election his party will get the same number of seats. The thought that the Arab List would be chosen by a left wing government instead of his simply doesn't cross his mind.

  3. regardless of how many seats they might or might not get, after the coalition agreements we just saw, I think we can expect that new elections would have Yair Lapid and others campaigning specifically against the Likud for capitulating to the haredi parties and against the haredi parties for their "extortionist" demands. They might end up with the same seats, but they might be left out of the next government


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