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A strong PM, a strong Israel?
By BEN CASPIT
10/01/2013
The Center-Left game this week to block Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was played with a foregone conclusion. It was all make-believe.
 
The Center-Left game this week to block Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was played with a foregone conclusion. It was all make-believe.

Yair Lapid and Shelly Yacimovich were closely coordinated when they came to a late-night meeting on Monday with Tzipi Livni, and afterward they launched a coordinated attack on her.

If you listen closely to Lapid and Livni, you will notice that they are saying exactly the same thing. After the election, the two of them will approach Netanyahu together, in a united front, and conduct negotiations with him with 20 Knesset seats, instead of 10 seats each.

But for now, they must squabble over every mandate, so they are fighting. Yacimovich persuaded Lapid that they can slurp up Livni’s mandates, and Lapid is trying to do just that with a straw.

Yacimovich is distancing herself from both of them because she has already declared that she will not sit in a Netanyahu government, period. Something really dramatic will have to happen for her to change her mind.

Therefore, the next coalition can only comprise Bibi and Avigdor (Liberman), Tzipi and Yair, and United Torah Judaism.

What does that add up to? A little more than 60, half the seats in the Knesset.

How is it possible to find a resolution to Lapid’s demand that haredim be drafted into the army with United Torah Judaism? I don’t know.

Netanyahu and Liberman will try to leave Shas out the coalition this time. I’m not sure they will succeed.

Will Naftali Bennett be in? Only if it is possible to find a way to resolve his position with Livni’s demand for a real resumption of the peace process. In short, after the election, Netanyahu faces a long headache and a short term of office.

Let’s look at his election slogans for a minute. On Sunday, when there was talk of the Center-Left uniting, the Likud was talking about “a large Likud against all the Left.” That was the election slogan in 1992. It brought about the defeat of Yitzhak Shamir to Yitzhak Rabin.

That was the Likud of Shamir, Ariel Sharon, David Levy, Moshe Arens, Dan Meridor, Roni Milo, and it still wasn’t big enough.

It did, however, allow Netanyahu to take control of the Likud.

In 1999, he fell in love with the term “strong.” The slogan then was “A strong leader for a strong nation.” Almost the same as it is today – “A strong prime minister, a strong Israel.”

Bibi has been conducting a long romance with strong roots, perhaps because he is so weak.

In any case, in 1999, he was strong with his slogan and weak on the ground, with the result that he was beaten.

Do you remember the slogan in 2006? “Strength against Hamas,” that was the slogan. the Likud wound up with only 12 seats.

So why is he so in love with this strength, this power, even though it doesn’t help catapult him to good positions? First, apparently because he is weak. He doesn’t know it, but his staff knows it.

The weak love to look strong.

Sharon didn’t have to call himself strong. Neither did Rabin, nor Menachem Begin.

Second, because this is the advice given to him by his political strategist, Arthur Finkelstein.

And because Netanyahu is so strong, he does everything Arthur says.
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