Coalition Sedition

All is not Kosher in Coalition land

There’s been some solidifying of the Israeli political scope this weekend, and likely coalition results are taking form. Here’s some highlights and commentary on how it looks according to my filter of the news..

Labor / Kadima

PeretzBack on the 31st of last month I speculated that Olmert could get away (if he was savvy) with giving Labor only 5 portfolios. With inflated egos came inflated demands, I’ve felt all along that Labor’s card was overplayed. The demand for 7+ portfolios / cabinet seats including finance and education was absurd given Labor’s actual election results. Finance meant unwieldy economic policies and spending that would ruin Israel’s economy in a few years, and education was promised by Ariel Sharon personally to Prof. Uriel Reichman.

The results seem to point to a total collapse by Kadima to Labor. Finance stays with Kadima, which frankly is not a Labor concession since Kadima is forming the Government. Labor gets not five portfolios as was being suggested before the weekend by smart kadima negotiators, but the full 7! Peretz gets the Defense portfolio leaving Mofaz cut out. On top of Defense, the second most senior portfolio in all the land, Labor also takes the Education Ministry.

So let it be written, so shall it not be done

The concession of Labor seems to be sitting in the Govt even if Lieberman’s right of center Israel Our Home party is in the coalition, something to which Labor is on record as being adamantly opposed. The demand seems obscene, typical of the center left of Israel to dictate which mandates should be valid for government when voted in Israel, and which are not. Now it seems Lieberman is being denied entry in any case..

Attorney general rules Israel Our Home chairman may not serve as internal security minister whilst being probed by police for irregularities in party funding
Tal Rosner

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz ruled Sunday evening that Israel Our Home leader Avigdor Lieberman may not serve as Internal Security Minister while being probed by police.

Mazuz notified Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of his legal opinion on the matter. Israel Our Home had told Olmert’s Kadima that it will not join the coalition government if Lieberman is not given the Internal Security Ministry. [...] Ynet

Olmert Capitulates

OlmertOnly Olmert himself dares go for more obscene by campaigning under Ariel Sharon’s vision;

Only to reneg on the education portfolio Sharon promised, strip Mofaz of Defense, while allowing Hamas to takeover Palestinian Government.. All the while wasting no time handing out 7 seats to the Emir Peretz, and caving on every front..
making Labor and I quote:

"Very satisfied with coalition negotiation results." Haaretz

Let’s be clear about one thing, he may have campaigned on Sharon but it’s all Olmert vision now. Sharon seemed a bit more strategic too me and opted for other avenues beyond mere coalition capitulation. Labor should be celebrating, they got the social benefits issues they wanted addressed, they got Defense for Peretz, they got Education which they wanted almost as much, they got the full 7 seats, and now Lieberman is probably out too!

Mofaz is peeved

MofazOf course the good tidings don’t end there for Kadima in this coalition. Once their agreement with Labor is signed, they have to finalize with Shas, the Pensioners, UTJ, and deal with the Israel Our Home obstacles - thankfully much of the initial work is done. It will look easy compared to having Mofaz leave Kadima, feeling slighted for being denied any of the Kadima spoils by the Baron Olmert.

Ynet Crisis not only with Reichman: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday for talks in which he was notified that he won’t be keeping his post in the new government, which is will be given to Labor Chairman Amir Peretz.

Both sides described the meeting as "difficult."

Mofaz asked that he be allowed to keep the Defense portfolio, or be given either the Finance or Foreign ministry.

Earlier it was reported that in the meeting Olmert told Mofaz he wants him to be a minister and play a leading role in running the country and Kadima. Olmert’s aides said Mofaz was not offered a portfolio.

The Foreign Ministry will remain with Tzipi Livni, who will also serve as deputy prime minister. The Finance Ministry will stay with Kadima but it is unclear who will be given the portfolio [...]

There’s plenty of bitterness at the Kadima camp, a stronger negotiation and sounder tactics would have yielded a concession or two with ease, putting out at least one of the Reichman or Mofaz crisis blunders and giving Olmert’s leadership a jolt of legitimacy.

Does anyone for a second believe that Labor was not going to enter this Government?

  • The Lieberman gambit reminds me of what Ben-Yair did to Netanyahu forcing him to rearrange his cabinet because of legal problems with Raful Eitan, Yaakov Neeman, Ehud Olmert and one other. In the end the legal issues were dismissed or acquitted. But Ben-Yair’s overreaching had damaged Netanyahu politically.

  • Indeed, I’m not sure which has me more upset, the fact that Lieberman is being sidelined, or the that in almost every election there’s a Minister or two unable to assume duties because of corruption probes.

    This is one area where this thriving Democracy needs A LOT of work sadly. Either they are all corrupt, or this is a preferred political smear tactic, I’m inclined to go with all of the above.

    It gets worse because after the dismissals, come the allegations that the acquittals are a result of further corruption, Joseph Heller has a term for this type of screwball, catch-22.

  • IN 1996 Ne’eman was tried for trying to influence a witness in the Deri case. He was acquitted. (What happened, he was doing what any attorney would do, attempting to find out what the witness would say on the stand.) But he couldn’t become justice mininster.

    Raful Eitan was accused of passing classified information improperly. It turned out that he had followed procedures properly and the case was laughed out of court. But he lost internal security minister because of it.

    Olmert was under suspicion for shady fundraising in 1992. I don’t know if that’s still and issue. But he was either acquitted or it never went to trial. For the Ha’aretz people, Michael Ben Yair was a good government type. In fact my brother says that he was a Rabin family friend and party hack. Given the success of his cases it’s pretty clear that he was the latter, simply trying to subvert the will of the electorate with no fear of reprecussion.

    (He also failed to nail Netanyahu for Bar-On. Of course he did immense political damage to Netanyahu – Deri was Netanyahu’s tar baby. The bottom line is that Bar-On was never questioned under warning. If he was unaware of any deal to go easy on Deri, well then there was no deal.)

    10 years ago, I was pretty certain it was the smear tactic.