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Sep 26, 2019

on whom to blame the failure of unity talks

The President, Rubi Rivlin, has tasked Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the government coalition after unity talks were going nowhere. If Netanyahu fails, theoretically Gantz will then be given a chance. If Gantz is given a chance and fails, it goes to the Knesset to try to appoint a Prime Minister supported by 61 MKs. If the Knesset fails, it then goes to elections. Anywhere along the way the Knesset can be dissolved and sent to elections, as happened last time.

In the meantime, each side is blaming the other for the failure of unity government talks. Gantz is blaming Netanyahu for the failure because Netanyahu came with a block of 55 saying he represents them all and if Gantz's offer is not good for all 55, it is not good for any. So, Gantz says Netanyahu torpedoed the talks by insisting on representing all 55 members of different parties. That is in addition to the problem of Netanyahu having possible indictments over his head. In exchange, Netanyahu blames Gantz for the failure of the unity talks, saying he is being stubborn and unreasonable in his demands and he, Netanyahu, is the democratically elected leader of the Likud and Gantz cannot just demand he be replaced.

The country and the media are taking sides, with some blaming Gantz and others blaming Netanyahu.

I say it is the fault of neither. They are not members of the same party. Each party has issues important to it. Negotiations for unity are to find a point in common with which both sides can work, but if the two sides each have issues and opinions that are so far apart from each other, they have no way to work with each other. Gantz does not owe Netanyahu any compromise on issues important to their voters, and Netanyahu does not owe Gantz any compromise on issues important to his voters. It would be nice for them to find a way to work it out, but neither side owes the other and neither side is to blame for the failure of the unity talks.

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  1. Bibi and Gantz are fighting for the job of Prime Minister of Israel. The job consists of representing the entire country not just the 45%, that represent 'their' bloc of voters. As individuals who feel they deserve the right to sit in the PM chair, they have a responsibility to find a way to form of Government. If they truly felt that responsibility, they would find a way to make things work.

    Right now they are playing a game of chicken. They are trying to leverage themselves to have the upper hand when the moment comes when someone has to jump. If we go to third elections, there is a huge risk of the electorate punishing those responsible.

    When the mandate falls into Gantz's hand, he would appear to have the necessary pressure to pull everything together for fear of the unpredictability of what could come next. Bibi is saying that he would get the 3rd shot at forming a Government. If he believes that, he will not feel the pressure of Gantz holding the mandate. That relies on the huge assumption that the Knesset would give Bibi the 3rd chance and not give it to someone completely different.

    Either someone will follow suit with Rivlin and step up and get this solved or continue to scapegoat at the detriment of the country.

    1. Can you name any democratic country in which the (equivalent of the) PM can really claim to represent more than about 50% of the electorate?

    2. Canada uses the FPTP electoral system which has a tendency to create majority governments. It usually takes around 37% - 42% of the popular vote to end up with a majority government. I believe only 3 Prime Ministers have received more than 50% of the popular vote.

      In the case of a minority government, either a formal coalition is formed between 2 parties or the largest party rules and work with the various opposition parties to pass legislation.

      Most of the votes are in what my prof referred to as the 'mushy middle'. In order to win an election those votes are critical. This creates an effect where the 2 larger parties tend to have more in common than their differences. As such there is stability and not drastic changes from Government to Government in the big picture. No matter who becomes Prime Minister they view themselves as the Prime Minister for all Canadians and not just those that voted for them.

      My reading of the election results, shows the same thing. Likud has more in common with Blue & White than Otzma or UTJ. The mushy middle gave Likud and Blue & White a significant mandate to work together. Instead Bibi decided to ignore the reality of what the electorate and go to the polls again. Considering Likud swallowed up Kulanu and gave incentives for Zehut to drop out, he lost big time.

      Gantz and Bibi need to recognize that they have to work together and see themselves as being the ruling body of the entire country. That means coming up with solutions that their bases may not love but is better for the overall country.

      WWI started as a series of small steps that no country could/would back down from. The result was 18 million dead in a virtual stalemate. Bibi and Gantz need to find a way to act like grown ups and avoid the steps that will send us on the path to another election.

  2. Just curious (and sorry I'm so late to the discussion here): If Likud and KaholLavan get together, as I understand it that puts Ayman Odeh of the Arab Joint List as head of the opposition. Are all of you advocating for Likud-KaholLavan unity gov't comfortable with Odeh, as head of the opposition, receiving monthly security updates from the Prime Minister, whoever it be, as the law requires?


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