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Chaos is Netanyahu’s ladder, Bennett can pull it out from under him

CM 29/04/2021 1


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 In two years – and counting! – of unprecedented paralysis plaguing Israeli politics, Tuesday’s cabinet meeting was another in a long list of bizarre moments.

Here’s a recap: In December, Avi Nissenkorn resigned from his role as justice minister, because he was running with The Israelis in the upcoming election; that party ended up dropping out, but it was too late for Nissenkorn. Defense Minister Benny Gantz took over as acting justice minister, but that term expired on April 1.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not supposed to be involved in choosing a new justice minister because of his ongoing corruption trials. But Netanyahu did not want Gantz running the Justice Ministry, either. The two of them share control of the cabinet’s agenda, and Netanyahu blocked any meetings to vote Gantz into the job again.
It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that this situation sparked petitions to the High Court of Justice, which decided to get involved. The judges ordered Netanyahu to call a cabinet meeting about the next justice minister, and Netanyahu complied.
On Tuesday morning, Army Radio’s Moriah Asraf Wolberg reported that Netanyahu had his own candidate for justice minister, but the news did not make waves. Anyone outside of Netanyahu’s inner circle didn’t realize this was a sign that he had a carefully planned surprise in store.
In the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu asked to delay the vote for 48 hours. Gantz refused, and then the ministers, most of whom are in the pro-Netanyahu bloc, voted down Gantz’s nomination. Then, Netanyahu nominated Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis for the role, with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit interjecting with his objections, saying the vote was illegal. Akunis won and the meeting devolved into a shouting match between many of those involved.
Gantz immediately petitioned the High Court, which froze Akunis’ appointment and called for the sides to explain themselves the next day. Anti-Netanyahu voices said the prime minister was intentionally violating the law and disregarding Mandelblit, while Netanyahu’s side said Mandelblit did not have the authority to block the vote.

Mandelblit and Gantz’s objection was that the law passed to allow for the parity/rotation government led by Netanyahu as prime minister and Gantz as alternate prime minister states that new items may only be brought to the cabinet agenda if both agree to it. Netanyahu’s argument was that this was not a new agenda item, rather just more on the same topic; the meeting’s agenda did not specify that Gantz would be justice minister. Gantz’s side argued that the Justice Ministry belongs to his party, as per the coalition agreement; Netanyahu’s pointed out that the coalition agreement is no longer valid after the government broke up, as it did in December.
But you can forget all of those arguments, because Netanyahu did an about-face by midday Wednesday and agreed to let Gantz be justice minister.
What did Netanyahu hope to accomplish in a move that started with confronting the legal establishment and ended with a total 180?
Netanyahu is at the tail end of his mandate to form the next government, and everything he does must be looked at through that prism.
That two-day delay Netanyahu wanted in choosing a justice minister was supposed to be to try to entice Yamina and New Hope into joining an all-right-wing coalition under his leadership, or in a rotation where one of those parties’ leaders would be prime minister first. The problem with that message, which Likudniks are pushing, is that no one authorized to speak for Netanyahu has actually offered Yamina leader Naftali Bennett a rotation.
Both Yamina and New Hope are against judicial activism and overreach, but Netanyahu may have thought that flexing muscles at the legal establishment would have given them common cause. But sources in those parties said the justice minister fiasco did not move the needle for them.
If anything, Netanyahu starting off fighting and then swiftly reversing his decision had the opposite of its intended effect. There are murmurs of disappointment in Likud that he did not go all the way in his fight with Mandelblit. The parties firmly in the pro-Netanyahu bloc – Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party – are now questioning if Netanyahu still has things under control.
One MK from the Religious Zionist Party – known for its sharp criticism of the judiciary and the legal establishment – derided Netanyahu’s “surrender,” while questioning why he entered the battle in the first place, and whether a power vacuum is really better than Gantz having the justice portfolio.
MEANWHILE, BENNETT continued with his intensive efforts to put together a government. Bennett met with Ra’am (United Arab List) Party leader Mansour Abbas on Wednesday to understand what it would take for Abbas to support a coalition of any kind, with or without Netanyahu. Meeting and negotiating with Abbas was a big step for Bennett, who is to Netanyahu’s Right, but he believes that continuing the endless election cycles and political instability will be disastrous for Israel. Ideally, Bennett would lead or join a right-wing government, but having any government at all is his priority, a source close to the Yamina leader explained.
Contrary to the rumors, Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked and others in the faction seem to be staying put. Yes, they complained about having to work with Ra’am, an Islamist party, in Monday’s faction meeting – as was leaked to the press – but there have not been any ultimatums or threats of a departure.
The Yamina source said the party’s leadership is more convinced than ever that another election is what Netanyahu really wants. Then, Netanyahu could try to nail Yamina and New Hope on their willingness to form a coalition with Labor and Meretz that relies on Arab parties’ votes, and, the theory goes, attract more votes to Likud.
And, along those lines, the ill-fated 48-hour extension proposal could have just been to convince Yamina or New Hope to support a direct election for prime minister, which Netanyahu also views as a way to bolster his leadership while weakening his rivals on the Right.
Meanwhile, some senior figures in Likud are trying to find Netanyahu a dignified exit ramp. The rumor that Netanyahu plans to install Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin in his place until his trial ends, so that a right-wing government can be formed, has enraged top Likud MKs and ministers who said they would demand a leadership primary.
No one should underestimate Netanyahu, who has managed to eke out political victories from very difficult and complex situations in the past, even if he appears to be on his way to losing that mandate. And this will not be the first time Netanyahu released a trial balloon that drove his opponents and much of the media into fits of rage only to take it back.
There’s a famous line from the TV show Game of Thrones that “chaos is a ladder.” The chaos of a four-election cycle has kept him in office for an additional two years, most of it without a government.
Netanyahu could have some kind of plan to climb the ladder of chaos to another victory – but Bennett’s plan is to put an end to the chaos.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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