A winning team (or not)

The current government was supposed to bring about wide-ranging socioeconomic change. At least it should, based on the outcome of the election.

April 18, 2013 21:42
3 minute read.
Peres meets ministers, for January 2013 coalition

Peres meets ministers 2013 coalition. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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The current government was supposed to bring about wide-ranging socioeconomic change. At least it should, based on the outcome of the election.

The election victors, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, campaigned strongly on the following issues: Reducing the high cost of living and housing, sharing the burden and making structural changes to the system of government.

In contrast, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security agenda suffered a heavy blow, as did Tzipi Livni’s campaign that focused on diplomatic issues.

The election, though, is already ancient history. Now real life begins. Without us even noticing, the winds of political change could take a turn and within just a few minutes the focus on social issues could move to diplomatic ones. If I had to commit myself, I would gamble on this happening.

The fire could come from any place or direction and could turn our world upside down overnight.

For example, in Syria the worst is yet to come. At any moment some deranged al- Qaida member could get ahold of chemical weapons and threaten someone with them (mostly likely us). This could even happen if a stray shell were to hit a kindergarten on the Golan.

And Lebanon is like a pot that has reached its boiling point.

Not to mention Sinai.

Mohamed Morsi’s public policy is collapsing on all fronts, but especially in the peninsula.

The Egyptian president has secretly offered the Beduin there a quiet autonomy to do as they please, so long as they stop shooting. But there is no way that could happen. The Beduin have never changed their ways, no matter who the official ruler was. They didn’t in the days of the Turks, and they surely are not about to begin now. The main problem in Sinai is that the traditional tribal structure has begun to crumble, and young, radical Beduin are looking for new sources of money.

How will the new Israeli government deal with these developments? After the excitement over the slap in the face Bibi experienced in the election dies down, all we are left with is an inexperienced, right-wing government.

The security cabinet has shrunk – it now comprises only seven members – and is devoid of experience and depth. Dan Meridor and Bennie Begin, two former members whose significant political abilities were put to good use, are no longer on the team.

Avigdor Liberman, about whom many things can be said (and they are), and who has tremendous experience as a statesman and handles pressure well, is also out of the picture for now.

Shaul Mofaz, who is also not the most suave politician, did still serve as defense minister and IDF chief of staff. But he is also out of the government.

Netanyahu was actually the one who demanded that Mofaz be left out – contrary to the agreement he had with Lapid.

On the night the coalition was formed, Bibi banged his fist down hard on the table and declared that this would be his red line. Mofaz was out.

So who’s left? The security cabinet consists of Netanyahu; Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, who has vast experience in the sector, but limited political experience; and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who due to hard times is actually one of the most experienced people around; and that’s it. Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett are not even newbies in this arena – they’re premies who aren’t yet breathing on their own and must remain a while longer in their incubators.

Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan is an experienced politician, but has never been a member of the security cabinet before. Last but not least is Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who is representing Yisrael Beytenu in place of Liberman.

And that’s it. This is the team that will lead us to victories. Or at least keep us alive.

Translated by Hannah Hochman.

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