Politicians of all parties feel the pressure to put together something permanent and remove Netanyahu’s Caretaker Government.
In the background of the devasting Israel/Hamas conflict, there has also been a different kind of conflict in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). With Opposition Parties wheeling and dealing across the political spectrum to put together a Coalition that would frankly be impossible in most Western Democracies and would end the 12 year Premiership of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel uses a very different electoral system than the UK, which hands out seats in proportion to the share of the vote they receive across the country; rather than electing dedicated representatives for specific constituencies. A political party only needs 3.25% of the vote to gain a seat in the Knesset. As you can imagine, this produces some very interesting Parliaments of varying shades and political affiliations.
Israel has had four elections in two years due to the parties being unable to form lasting coalitions. As you can imagine, this political crisis has been exhausting for the electorate. Politicians of all parties feel the pressure to put together something permanent and remove Netanyahu’s Caretaker Government. This pressure has resulted in an incredibly diverse coalition that has shocked even the most shrewd political pundits. This coalition spans the entire political spectrum, from Left to Right, and perhaps most surprisingly, Arab parties to Jewish parties – such as Ra’am and Yamina, who are the most surprising entries on this coalition, considering their platforms and principles are fundamentally different. The whole coalition is made up of:
Yesh Atid (Centrist, Liberalism, Two-state Solution), seventeen seats
Blue and White (Centrist), eight seats
Yamina (Populism, Economic Liberalism, Right-wing to Far-right), six seats (Yamina have seven seats, but one MK is currently refusing to be part of the coalition)
Israel Beiteinu (Centre-right), seven seats
Labor (Centre-left, Social-democratic), seven seats
New Hope (Centre-right to Right-wing), six seats
Meretz (Left-wing, Green, Progressive), six seats
Ra’am (Two-state solution, Islamism, Conservativism), four seats
Hats off to Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, for putting this together; this man must owe many favours after putting this together. To put this coalition into UK terms, it would be similar to seeing parties like The Liberal Democrats, Alliance, UKIP, DUP, Labour, Greens, and SNP come together to form a coalition to oust the Tories. So, quite the ensemble! For the sake of simplicity, we’ll call this coalition Yair’s Band.
Rather interestingly, it will be the leader of one of the smaller parties, Yamina, who will be Prime Minister first, before the role is handed over to the Yesh Atid Leader. But given Yamina is the most Right-Wing of all the parties, they were probably the most difficult to get on board with this broad and partly Left-Wing Government and so needed more ‘convincing’.
Given how different these parties are, you may wonder, why have they come together now? Well, as I mentioned earlier, parties of all persuasions are starting to feel the heat to prevent a potential fifth election from taking place. Also, all the parties of Yair’s Band despise Netanyahu, who is quite a divisive figure in Israel but commands the plurality of the Knesset’s seats, making it difficult to form a coalition without him. But there is only so far unity in opposition can take you. We should not expect great or bold things from this Government. Every step they take will be a carefully negotiated compromise, always one misstep from falling apart. Yair’s Band is just an anti-Netanyahu Alliance, designed to stick together until the next election.
We should not expect great or bold things from this Government. Every step they take will be a carefully negotiated compromise
But to come back to the question at hand, is this curtains for Netanyahu? I think not. The man is relentless and will not be keen on leaving office. He will be doing everything in his power to shame the Right Wing members of this coalition into backing out of what he is branding as a dangerous coalition, which betrays voters who voted for the Right Wing Parties involved.
Even if Netanyahu is booted out of office in the coming days, I highly doubt this will be the last we see of him. He’ll use his new position as Leader of the Opposition to sow the seeds of conflict in the new Government to bring it down. He could try and take advantage of the existing gaps within Yair’s Band and stir division between the Islamist and Jewish parties to bring about infighting within the Government. Any chaos brought on by the collapsed Government will trigger a scenario that will give Netanyahu another shot at becoming PM or getting into Government.
George Holt is a conservative councillor and deputy chairman of Dartford Conservatives. He co-founded the Young Conservative Network and has a career in financial technology. George has a passion for foreign affairs, particularly American politics and enjoys reading and walking his dogs.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company.
Cover Image Credit: www.kremlin.ru CC by 4.0