The potential pitfalls of a dream come true

Netanyahu finally has the coalition he always wanted. But he has no time to waste in using it.

May 14, 2012 14:21
Mofaz and Netanyahu at cabinet meeting

Mofaz and Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Back before the unity government was formed last week, I’d been planning a column about Yair Lapid’s one contribution to Israeli politics: his pledge to join the next government regardless of who formed it. Far from representing a cynical preference for ministerial perks over principles, I planned to argue, Lapid apparently understood a basic truth that always eluded former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni: You can’t credibly blame a prime minister for capitulating to Haredi demands while simultaneously making it impossible for him to form a coalition without the Haredim. Only if the centrist parties are willing to sit together will it be possible to enact vital domestic reforms long opposed by the Haredim, such as changing the electoral system or instituting universal national service.

Since then, Lapid has proven that I gave him far too much credit: He’s busily denouncing the new coalition, formed to address precisely those issues, as a Soviet-style dictatorship. But fortunately, someone far more important has proven that he does genuinely care about domestic reform: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


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