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May 30, 2021

spin in the 11th hour

Today was some political craziness, as we come to the finish line of coalition formation with everyone scrambling at the last minute.

So, while we still do not yet know what will happen in the coming days and everything that hits the news media right now is still just "spin", I had some thoughts along the way.

1. Finance Minister Yisrael Katz supposedly offered Netanyahu a plan for Netanyahu to step down and Katz would lead Likud temporarily as Prime Minister, putting together a "full right" government. At some later stage, in a year or two, Netanyahu would come back and take over. Netanyahu supposedly rejected the supposed offer, and the Likud (or some of its leaders) put out a harsh statement against Katz as being a political usurper at the worst time, the way they recently did against Barkat. They even called him a horrible Finance Minister.

I am amazed how Netanyahu will supposedly offer Bennett and Saar "first in rotation" agreements (which we are pretty sure he would find a way to renege on) but does not trust his own Likud leadership and closest ministers to work out some similar arrangement with them. Similar ideas have been floated in the past (Yariv Levin among others) and he always refused them.

2. Netanyahu is coming up with all these ideas at the last minute. the 11th hour, as they say. Daka 90, the 90th minute, in Hebrew parlance. Today he got the entire right bloc leaders to say they would sign an agreement that would give Saar first spot in a rotation, followed by Bibi, followed by Bennett. So far Saar said no, it is just spin, Netanyahu can't be trusted to follow through (and we know Deri's word as guarantor is already meaningless by now as well). We'll see what happens, but sometimes it is just too late. Where was he with a serious offer any time in the past 3 weeks? or 2+ months?

3. Netanyahu is reaping what he sowed. Nobody trusts his word any longer, after seeing years of him destroying political opponents, breaking up parties by dividing them, breaking promises, and the like.

4. It looks more and more likely that it will work out with the "change bloc" and a government might be formed. As I said earlier, that does not mean it will be functional or long lasting, but they might succeed in doing what they set out to accomplish - getting Bibi out of Balfour. And the threat of elections might be the greatest thing to make it happen. I am sure neither Bennett or Saar nor Abbas, or some of the others, want to go to elections now considering the strong backlash they might encounter.

5. Lapid has been amazingly consistent for the past couple of years - he has repeatedly given up the first spot despite being the largest faction or party, for the ideal of getting rid of Netanyahu. He might have a massive ego (what politician doesn't?) but he has repeatedly put it aside for what eh considers the greater good. Not many others can claim that. For the past few years he has stayed on message and worked toward a single goal. he is on the cusp of achieving it. We will see what happens, but kudos to him for his determination and focus. 

Of course any time someone praises Lapid for anything it raises hellfire because he is "horrible", "anti-haredi", a "leftist", "uneducated without even a high school degree", "worst finance minister in history", etc, so I expect some backlash for this, but my comment is not about his policies but about his focus and determination and finally being on the cusp of seeing success. I think some lessons can be learned from this.

6. It doesn't bother me that a head of party with just 6 seats might become Prime Minister. Some are screaming it is undemocratic for such a thing to happen. It does not bother me. I am impressed by his negotiating skills if he can arrange that after just achieving 6 seats in the elections. I think people on the Right should be praising him for this, not attacking him

7. It is amazing how all the "leftists" are willing to support a right winger, and a religious one who wears a kipa, for Prime Minister. And there is not even any mention of that. The bigger issue is that he is right wing. The fact that he is religious does not even get mentioned. We are on the cusp of the possibility of a religious Jew becoming Prime Minister and his religion  is not an issue. Sure, maybe it is out of hatred for Bibi that they support him, but so what. They could say no. They could say we'll support Saar first but not Bennett. They could talk about the difficulty, even if they'll begrudgingly support him. But not a peep. Bennett is religious, might be imminently appointed Prime Minister supported by the Left and that has not been an issue at all.

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