Apr 4, 2021

breaking the stalemate

As the issue of forming a governing coalition becomes increasingly complicated in the leadup to tomorrow's round of meetings between the President and party heads to hear their recommendations for Prime Minister, journalist Attila Somfalvi has made an interesting proposal. Most have been based on the same thoughts over and over again, slightly adjusted, so this is much more unique.

Somfalvi has suggested that there is still the possibility of Lapid and the Haredim cooperating to form a government. This comes after Lapid himself said that if he can form a government with Bennett, the Haredim would be willing to join shortly after - they would not support him in becoming PM, but they would join his government once it is up.

Maybe, maybe not, but here is Attila Somfalvi's idea.

Somfalvi suggests that a Lapid-Haredi government could happen. The only thing preventing it is Lapid's stance regarding the drafting of the yeshiva bochurim. That has been one of Lapid's main flags since day 1. While he cannot just drop it now, it has never been actualized and will not be - Lapid won't draft them. Somfalvi says the Haredun need to be allowed to learn, to work to earn - whatever they want. They can do civil service instead of being drafted. Lapid can find the solution, but he needs a mediator to propose it and push it through.

Somfalvi's mistake is really that he suggests Olmert as the mediator. I don't think Olmert has that legitimacy, though he does have the relations with both sides. I think Bennett could be the perfect mediator on this issue - Bennett has pushed his agenda for a long time to give the Haredim a mass exemption at a younger age than currently exists in order to get them out into the workforce. A younger age of exemption will allow more to enter academic studies and get respectable professions rather than starting at a later age and more being able to only take low paying positions as unskilled laborers.

If Bennett can be the mediator and get Lapid to accept his plan, at least temporarily, and not force the draft issue, the Haredim could find a way to join such a government. Bennett has proposed, has campaigned on the idea of not dealing with all the social issues and only having a government for a couple of years that deals with only the economy and corona. This could be the basis of such a government that could allow everyone to live with it. Lapid would have to bite his tongue on some of those religion and State issues and the Haredi parties would probably have to be willing to accept that some of their budgets for yeshivas might be a little bit smaller and have fewer positions of influence in the government, but overall it could be livable for everybody.

Chances of this happening are miniscule, but it sounded like a good proposal to me to get the Israeli government out of its stalemate.




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