A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 4, 2013- Negotiations Begin For Government- Will Lapid Stand By His Principles?
This week began the official negotiations to create a new government coalition. Up until now, there has been no real news – just a sea of rumors and an ocean of assumptions. The majority of those rumors -combined Yair Lapid's Facebook posts in the last few days - seem to point to the fact Lapid is planning to stand his ground on the issue of drafting the Haredim, in addition to some of his party's other governing principals. The fact that Lapid would stick to his guns, and uphold the values on which he ran seems to have come as a shock to the Likud and Netanyahu. Netanyahu is very reluctant to leave the Haredim out of the new government - despite the fact that over 70 percent of the nation does not want the Haredim as a part of the government. In addition, there seems to be some sort of agreement between Bennet and Lapid to stand together on that issue. If they do stand together, then Netanyahu will have no choice but to cave in and go with them. However, pressure will be on Bennet from the very religious side of his party to be more accommodating. On the other hand, the Haredim (and Shas particularly) probably did their cause very little good when Rav Yosef called HaBayit HaYehudi party "Goyim". While both the Haredim and the National Religious are obviously Orthodox, the underlying ideological differences between them are as deep as the Grand Canyon. Furthermore, this may be the last chance for the National Religious to reassert those beliefs in areas that are beyond the issue of the territories.
I believe that Lapid and Bennet's hands are much stronger than are recognized by many. Usually the potential coalition members are very eager to go into the coalition, not wanting to miss out on the plum jobs of being ministers. However, none of the Knesset members from Yesh Atid and few of those from Habayit Hayehudi have even ever been Knesset members before. Being a Knesset member (and for many this has been an unexpected victory) is no doubt a big enough jump for them. There is go to be very little pressure from the members of the parties on their leadership to join the coalition for the jobs. We will see.
Meanwhile, it seems clear that there will be no response for the alleged Israeli attack on the Syrian equipment that was being prepared for transport to Lebanon. Iran has made its usual threats. However, beyond that, even the Syrian Defense Minister has stated that there is nothing Syria can do. Of course, this is not likely to be the last time the Syrians try to move materials over to Hezbollah. Thus, Israel may be forced to react again.
An article worth reading from Jeffrey Goldberg on the Chuck Hagel Nomination is worth reading Sleepy Chuck Hagel Has Some Bigger Questions to Answer