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Feb 14, 2021

scratch our back and we won't scratch yours

PM Netanyahu has come under a lot of criticism for pushing for the merger between Itamar Ben Gvir's party and Betzalel Smotritch's party to try to help them both pass the threshold and get in to the Knesset, thus potentially helping Netanyahu achieve 61 mandates to serve as Prime Minister. Helping a Kahanist racist like Ben Gvir????

PM Netanyahu spoke up in defense of what he did. Netanyahu just said, "Ben Gvir won't be in the government, but he will be part of our coalition, just as Michael Ben Ari was and did not have any influence. This is hypocrisy - you are taking about Ben Gvir but have no problem accepting the #7 of Labor who has called IDF soldiers war criminals."

As far as I can recall, Dr Michael Ben Ari made it into the Knesset for one term but was not part of the coalition. His faction, Otzma LYisrael, broke off from Ichud Haleumi, and he served in Knesset but not as part of the coalition.

And anyway, if Ben Gvir is part of the coalition he automatically will have influence. If it will be a narrow coalition, which is likely in this scenario, Ben Gvir can always threaten to abandon ship in order to get what he wants.

Besides for that, if I were Itamar Ben Gvir, I would not be happy with Netanyahu right now. Netanyahu just explicitly said he is going to be using Ben Gvir to form a coalition but will not give him any influence or a role in the government to be formed. I am not sure what Ben Gvir could possibly think is to be gained by supporting Netanyahu for Prime Minister at this point. Perhaps Netanyahu showed his cards too early and this will come back to hurt him, or maybe he has something else up his sleeve, some other political payoff, that he thinks will keep Ben Gvir in line.


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