Benjamin Netanyahu has just shown the world how incredibly smart and forward-thinking he is, and how petty and small-minded was Tzipi Livni, the former head of Kadima. Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz made a unity deal that created the largest coalition government in the history of Israel, one that is no longer beholden to any of the minority parties, and most important, one that is large enough to pass the laws to revise Israel’s parliamentary system to create a representative democracy. Which is one of the four things Netanyahu says he wants to do.
Outlining the unity government’s goals, Netanyahu pointed to four objectives: “To bring a just and egalitarian alternative to the Tal Law; a responsible budget that will address the State of Israel’s needs; to change the government system; and to try to promote a responsible peace process where security is maintained.”
The Muqata has a list of winners and losers, for those of you who don’t follow Israeli politics closely enough.
I cannot stress enough how incredibly great this deal is for Israel. Imagine, if you can, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress joining–really joining and working together–into one bilateral coalition to pass the bills that need passing, like tax reform and true health care reform (not the mess Obamacare has become). That is what the Likud/Kadima coalition is like.
In one fell swoop, Netanyahu has proven all of his critics wrong. The editors and op-ed writers of the New York Times are standing around in stunned amazement this morning, not knowing what to write. (But count on them to slam him in some fashion.) The Palestinians are already condemning the deal by insisting it is business as usual and that Israel doesn’t really want peace. Right. Because Israel is the party setting preconditions for even talking about peace. Bibi’s opponents are resorting to name-calling, because they know that they have absolutely no power at all in the new coalition. But make no mistake: This is a great moment in Israeli history.
Here’s hoping that Kadima and Likud can work together to make this coalition a success. I suspect they will: their respective heads want what’s best for Israel, and what’s best for their parties, in that order. That’s as it should be.
And the Iranians? Well, they’ve got to be quaking in their boots, now. Bibi has just headed off a long, grueling election cycle and allowed Israel to concentrate on its enemies.
Things just got a whole lot more complicated.