February 19, 2013-Livni Sells Out; The Charedim Hit Back at the Religious Zionist Marc Schulman

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Israel Update
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By Marc Schulman

February 19, 2013-Livni Sells Out; The Charedim Hit Back at the Religious Zionist

Tonight I am certainly glad that I did not give in to an impulse and vote for Tzpi Livni. After attending one of her coffee-house meetings and speaking to her during the campaign I certainly was tempted. But tonight she proved what many in the meeting with her tried to articulate; that she could not be trusted. Today, Livni became the first to sign a coalition agreement with Netanyahu- joining a government, (which she has no idea at this point what it will look like). By doing so, Livni has, to some extent, decreased the bargaining power of Yesh Aid and the Bayit Hayehudi against Netanyahu, as well as their ability to reach an agreement to change the status quo with the Haredim. Livni supposedly came back to politics to unseat Netanyahu. Instead she signed on to be the next Justice Minister in a Netanyahu government- a task she fulfilled in the past, without any special distinction. In addition, as part of the coalition agreement, Livni is also officially in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians, albeit under the direction of Netanyahu. Amir Peretz, (who showed such great competence in running the Defense Ministry), will now apply that experience to solving Israel's environmental challenges. With Netanyahu having trouble putting together a coalition, Livni's action was a spit in the face of all those who voted for her!

Meanwhile, the Haredim are hitting back at the Religious Zionists for demanding that they share a great amount of the burden. They are claiming that there would not be such a military burden if the Religious Zionists did not insist on settling the West Bank. One leading Haredi figure likened the situation to a case where a well-known gangster were to move into your apartment building. As a result, the building required significant additional protection. This would be as if the rest of the unknowing tenants were asked to pay equally for the gangster's ramped-up protection. This analogy is a bit of a stretch. However, it does represent a major change in the position of the Haredim- back to their more dovish positions of the past.

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