IDF scholarship: The night both sides lost - analysis

The truth is that although the soldiers won – and that is nice for them – but all of the politicians from across the political spectrum lost.

 OPPOSITION LEADER and head of the Likud Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
OPPOSITION LEADER and head of the Likud Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

When the IDF scholarship bill passed into law in the Knesset plenum at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid looked up at the soldiers in the visitors’ gallery and made a V sign for victory.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu then met with the soldiers and posted the pictures on social media, taking credit for the scholarships they will receive.

But the truth is that although the soldiers won, and that is nice for them, all of the politicians from across the political spectrum lost.

Why politicians lost

The coalition lost because it could not pass the most consensus bill imaginable without groveling to the Likud for help. The heads of the coalition failed to attract the support of Ra’am (United Arab List), the Joint List and rebel MKs Amichai Chikli, Idit Silman and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi.

Any legislation related to soldiers – and there are key bills coming soon – will be hard to pass for a coalition that depends on Ra’am. Good luck drafting yeshiva students or increasing IDF officers’ pensions.

IDF soldier voting early for the 2021 elections (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)IDF soldier voting early for the 2021 elections (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

No stomach for loss

The opposition lost because the inner workings of the Likud faction were revealed on the nightly news, and like the proverbial sausage factory, they are not particularly appetizing.

“We have no stomach aches for the soldiers, the battered wives or rape victims”

Likud MK Miri Regev

 Likud MK Miri Regev told the faction: “They all understand our rationale in voting against the coalition.”

The opposition should never vote with the coalition, except during a war or a military operation, she said.

After the soldiers, the disabled and women’s-rights groups expressed outrage at Regev, she declined multiple opportunities to apologize.

“Those who taped me should apologize,” Regev told reporters.

In an interview on Channel 12, she made it worse by saying, “I apologize in the name of those who gave [the media] my words out of context.”

Regev claimed someone leaked the clip to harm her.

“The disabled and women’s groups didn’t understand what I said,” she said. “I spoke in favor of the women and the disabled.”

Likud faction meeting

In another Likud faction meeting 10 hours after the first one, Netanyahu snapped at his MKs: “Everything here is recorded and broadcast. Control your tongues.”

Of course, it did not take too long for that clip to hit social media.

So both the coalition and the opposition ended up looking awful to their constituents. But at least the soldiers got their stipends.

“We worked all day, begging MKs,” soldier’s lobby leader Idan Siboni said. “Now, for so many of us, getting a degree is possible.”