October 25, 2012-Lieberman and Netanyahu Combine Forces Marc Schulman

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

October 25, 2012-Lieberman and Netanyahu Combine Forces

Just when I thought the Israeli political system could not get any worse....Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman announced they were uniting their lists. Likud and Israel Beiteinu will jointly run for the Knesset. To see the two of these men speaking together should make anyone who cares about our democracy feel sick to their stomach. Lieberman has been running an autocratic party, both from within and from without. He has run a racist party and a racist campaign. Of course worse than that, Lieberman is corrupt. The police recommended that he be indicted, as did the State Prosecutor's office. While that alone does not make him guilty- It is a known fact that Lieberman's 21-year-old daughter made a few million dollars for consulting. It does not require Sherlock Holmes to see through that sham. And who engineered the dea between Netanyahu and Liebermanl? Natan Eshel, the same man who resigned from Netanyahu's office after being accused of taking pictures up a woman’s dress, among other things. So just how rotten this new deal can be?

Netanyahu made this deal as a result of his fear the Likud might lose support in the coming election. Although the conventional wisdom was that Netanyahu would be the next Prime Minister, (as he had no substantive rivals) his popularity is currently not that high. Observers believed Netanyahu would loose votes to Shas, HaBayit Hayhudi, and even to Lieberman's party. Thus, while the right bloc might end up the strongest concentration of parties, Netanyahu feared he could find himself the head of a much smaller Likud. For Lieberman, this gives him a way back into the Likud, the party in which he was once the equivalent of its Executive Director. If he is not indicted, (we have been waiting for the final decision of the Attorney General for months) Lieberman will become Netanyahu's heir apparent.. As part of the agreement Netanyahu promised Lieberman that he could choose between the positions of Defense Minister, the Finance Minister or keep his current portfolio as Foreign Minister- at his discretion. That thought alone should keep many of us awake at night, since Lieberman will likely choose either control over the money or command over the guns.

How this deal will work out in the end, only the next few months will tell. I am sure that Netanyahu did all the polling in the world before deciding to make this move. His polls say the move will strengthen the combined Likud/Israel Beitenu ticket. That might be the case, but I think the new deal will weaken the Likud. I believe they will lose some moderate Likud voters. I also think they will lose some of the Russian voters who Lieberman was misleading, with his continued promises of religious reform and no action.

We will all have to wait and watch. Needless to say, those of us who can, VOTE!

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