A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
May 8, 2012- Earthquake In Israeli Politics- Kadima Joins Government Elections Cancelled
It's Last night I was planning to write an update on how ridiculous it was to be holding elections in Israel this September. How embarrassing it was to watch the rush to distburse the Knesset quickly before anything could be done, as promised, to replace the "Tal Law". I had also wondered how the Israeli leaders, especially the Prime Minister, could get away with lying so much-Netanyahu first said he did not want elections. Then he called for elections and promised a new law to replace the Tal law, before new elections. Then, he rushed to end the Knesset before the replacement Tal Law could be passed. As luck would have it, last night I was busy finishing a project and decided that I could wait to post an until the law to disband the Knesset was passed-- since nothing was going to change.
Imagine my surprise after opening my iPad in bed bright and early this morning and reading that Kadima had joined the coalition and that the September election was off.
After I got over my shock, I came to two conclusions: First, that everything I was about to write about our lying politicians was true, on steroids. Their utter lack of shame is beyond any rational understanding. It is one thing to fudge the truth, or make promises that you are not going to keep. However, to listen to these politicians habitually lie, straight out, is a bit hard take. Even the most veteran political observers were shocked by the extent of this latest round of prevarications. Second, on the other hand, delaying the elections is not a bad thing. In that there was no need to have elections now, and there was no serious opponent to Netanyahu at this point. A year from now, who knows.
However, the problem is two fold. We now have a coalition government made up of over 90 members, which in no way reflects the will of the people. Maybe 55% of the country (in broad strokes) supports the current government, but NOT 80%. Worse, this political move has only served to increase the already high level of cynicism people have towards politics and politicians. Shaul Mofaz who publicly called Bibi a liar, and worse- just weeks ago- entered Netanyahu's government for only one reason... Kadima was going to be destroyed in the next election. I think the number of 10 Knesset seats for Kadima was an optimistic guess. Were there to be elections this coming fall, I would not have been surprised if Kadima disappeared all together. So with this move, Mofaz ensured that his Knesset members kept their jobs for an extra year.
Why Netayahu entered into this agreement reamains an enigma. It might just be his cautious nature to delay an election, in which, however good his chances look, might contain surprises. There might be another motive, but that remains unclear.
There is a slight chance we might see a very real change the laws dealing with the drafting of Haredim and changing our system of government will actually take place, since that is what the coaltion deal with Kadima guaranteed. I do not actually believe that will come to pass, but one can hope.
One question asked repeatedly today was whether this sudden move to eliminate virtually opposition the current government has anything to do with a possible attack on Iran. The simple answer seems to be-- not directly. However, today's events probably increased the chance of an Israeli attack on Iran by some measure.
One final point. I could not help but be disgusted with the pictures of Natan Eshel, deeply engaged in the negotiations to bring about this deal. Eshel had been forced to resign from his position as the Director of Prime Minister's Bureau due to his "inappropriate actions to a female employee". At the time, many in Israel were surprised that Netanyhu exhibited his anger at the whistle blowers, and not at Eshel. Obviously, a little misbehavior on his part was not enough to move him from the center of power.