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
Back 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
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
Only 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
Of 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?
Channel 1 Politica / news broadcast poll
Following up on the Shaul Mofaz as Defense Minister debate and post, I came across this poll (Tuesday, April 11th) broadcast on Israel Channel 1 News’ Politica show, the details are in Hebrew but I’ll translate.
Polling topic: Do you trust the following as Defense Minister for Israel?
Trusted: Shaul Mofaz 54% (kadima) ; Avi Dichter 40% (Labor) ; Amir Peretz 17% (Labor)
And the reverse, answering in the negative;
or Not trusted for Defense Minister..
Amir Perets 59% (Labor) ; Shaul Mofaz 23% (Kadima) ; Avi Dichter 19% (Labor)
IBA.ORG.IL / Channel 1
Some pretty ugly looking numbers fo the coalitions to chew on over the Passover holiday break, negotiations set to resume even during Chol-Hamoed, the non high holiday days of Passover. I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one who thinks Peretz is not really cut out for this particular post, 59% is a difficult number to ignore no matter how you spin it..
Commentary from one of the Generals on the panel?
Paraphrasing – No one is out of bounds for the position, but in constructing the Govt and building the positions, sometimes egos are not as important as what benefits the State of Israel the most, and this should not be lost in priorities.. For the benefit of Israel this commentator suggested either Mofaz or Dichter as Defense Minister, according to order. (Eitan Ben Eliyahu, General / Air Force, reserves)
Once the coalitions agree on the Government’s agenda, the messy portfolio or ministry handouts will begin, should be a doosie.
Labor ego run amok
This is one magic trick that is somewhat less amusing. Only in the world of Israeli coalitions can this sort of craziness go on. The press in Israel have stated as much, Olmert has stated as much, Labor has stated a much, Shaul Defense Minister for 5 years, Iron Man of Israel is slated to be replaced by Amir Peretz!? In order to understand how I feel about this self serving pile of camel dung being served fresh, we need to look back.
When Arik put a Shaul in the hen house..
Ariel Sharon won the 2003 Israeli election and the Likud secured a massive 40 odd seat sweep. The bulldog was back hard, Sharon, being the only PM to be elected back to back in Israeli history. This big win had come after Labor leader Ben Eliezer had yanked his own party from the coalition previously, selfishly I might add in a self serving manner while Israel was at war in the second intifada. Labor paid a big price.
Meretz & Labor think they won, or if they keep repeating it to themselves it makes it true.
Survey says: X
I was watching Channel 1 programming from Israel last night, coalition talk. I still maintain Olmert is best served not just using other parties as leverage, but actually going the distance. Labor and Meretz, big players in their own deluded power play are suggesting they should build a coalition of the left and form a Government led by Amir Peretz, all as leverage of course. Good luck!
Meretz MK Haim Oron said Friday that his party will not sit in a coalition with Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu or National Union-NRP.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is leaning toward bringing Avgidor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu into the coalition instead of Shas. Olmert said Thursday in conversation behind closed doors that despite Lieberman’s opposition to withdraw from the territories, he seems to be a convenient partner, reliable and easier than Eli Yishai of Shas.
Meretz decided at a meeting Thursday to recommend to the president that Peretz form the coalition said Ran Cohen, appointed chairman of the party’s negotiating team. Cohen said Meretz’s condition was that Peretz would not enter a coalition with the three parties.
Meretz basically claims they won’t sit in a Govt composed of nearly everyone, but Mahmoud Abbas himself.. All part of the so called Social revolution the left were talking about BEFORE the election, and that hasn’t actually manifested itself IN the election, yet remains their key strategy AFTER the election. You don’t want to sit quietly, you are spolied treasonous children? Sayanara.
I have one question.
Where are the votes?..
Here’s some updated numbers now that pre election ballots have been counted (H/T : JK)
Kadima 29 (+1)
Shas 12 (-1)
Likud 12 (+1)
Israel Home 11 (-1)
Meretz 5 (+1)
Arab Ram Taal 3 (-1)
Not dramatic movement.. But some adjustment.
Also, I saw a headline stating that Israel Elections committee suspects double voting for some Arab parties. We’ll see what happens there.
The left is as usual lacking much in substance, employing the Hot Air tactic.
I’ve been trying to get a handle on the dizzying coalition brow beating going on in Israel, here are some observations.
Hot Air – The Social Block
Yesterday’s big talk was of a "Social Bloc". Apparently Shas, Labor, Meretz & the pensioners were well into forming an alliance to strengthen their position towards Kadima and secure social issues in a coalition. This was floated by Labor senior party members.
Reality – There is no Social Block
Digging a bit deeper I’m seeing this is fabricated nonsense.