The Israeli governmental crisis remains … and is deepening


The Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, did not delay in deciding on the formation of the government, choosing from among a variety of scenarios to transfer the mandate to the head of the “There is a future” party, Yair Lapid, despite his awareness of the difficulties that might prevent the latter from succeeding in the mission. But the alternative to that was the mandate of the head of the Yemina bloc, Naftali Bennett, who Rivlin found more than one motive to avoid him, just as he beware of transferring the mandate to the Knesset, which would quickly push things towards a fifth election. Nevertheless, Rivlin based his decision on Lapid obtaining the recommendation of 56 members of the Knesset, and the assurance of the head of the “Unified List,” Mansour Abbas, that he would “cooperate positively with anyone assigned the task of forming a government.” The decision came in the wake of a series of consultations that Rivlin held with the party leaders, over the identity of their candidate to form a government.Netanyahu had failed to compose within the legal deadline set for him (28 days), and he returned the mandate to the president after he did not request an extension of the 14-day mandate according to what the law allows, especially since he had not succeeded in concluding any agreements with any of the blocs with which he was supposed to form the government. . Regarding this, Rivlin found himself facing a specific set of options permitted by the law: assigning an alternative to Netanyahu, or transferring the mandate to the Knesset to choose a name that enjoys the support of 61 members, bearing in mind that the first option, according to the map of alliances and the balance of power in the Knesset Confined between Lapid and Bennett. The assignment of Lapid does not mean that the road ahead of him is paved. Rather, there are many obstacles that may lead to his failure, especially since his chances of accomplishing this task, without including Bennett and the head of the “New Hope” party, Gideon Sa’er, appear to be non-existent. Therefore, the possibility of removing Netanyahu from this position depends on an agreement with Bennett to rotate the premiership. It seems that according to the law, Lapid can be charged with the task of forming the government, while he who practically carries it out is shown, so that the latter presides over the government as well, within a specific agreement. With Lapid’s assignment, the Israeli president would have avoided two alternative scenarios: assigning Bent, or transferring the mandate to the Knesset. Regarding the first, Rivlin believes that the possibility of forming a right-wing government has been exhausted, and therefore any other formula can be achieved through the mandate of Lapid. As for the second scenario, which constitutes a forced alternative, according to which the law grants the “Knesset” a period of up to 21 days to present a recommendation signed by 61 members to assign a specific candidate. It also allows recommendations of former candidates who failed the formation mission. If the majority agrees on a candidate, the legal time limit for completing the task is limited to 14 days.
Thus, in the event that Lapid’s paths to forming a government are blocked, Israel will find itself, once again, before the fifth elections in less than three years. Although this scenario is rejected from the two camps, it remains the lesser of evils for both of them. Between forming a government that is outside its presidential framework (permanent or rotating presidency), and a fifth election, Netanyahu prefers the last option, even if he will fight the battle this time from a weaker position, perhaps. The reason is that he ran in the last elections relying on the vaccination against Corona, but in the upcoming elections, this factor will be less present among some of the voters. Likewise, the formation of a government without him will strip him of the only card that he armes with (the presidency of the government) and through which he tries to influence the course of his trial, while open elections keep him as the head of the transitional government, in the hope of achieving a breakthrough that consecrates him as the head of government. On the other hand, Lapid and his allies also prefer elections to a government headed by Netanyahu that gives him leverage and influence over the course of events.

Netanyahu is trying to split the ranks of “right-wing” to block the path to an alternative government

Amidst this atmosphere, Netanyahu is trying to play the direct election card for the prime minister, as a way out of the crisis facing Israel, and in the manner in which he guarantees his victory, as many commentators see. In any competition between Netanyahu and Lapid, the right-wing public, in its overwhelming majority, will not favor the latter over the former, even if it has a negative stance on Netanyahu. If any of the other right-wing competitors participate, his chances of winning will be very slim, and his participation will only weaken Netanyahu by a certain percentage.
In parallel with Lapid’s assignment and the initiation of his efforts to form the government, Israeli media reports revealed that Netanyahu is seeking to split the “Yameenah” party by tempting Illit Shaked, by granting her the Ministry of Justice and guaranteeing 3 seats for her and whoever is with her on the Likud candidate list for the upcoming elections. Apparently, the main goal of this endeavor is to weaken the chances of forming an alternative government, because Shaked’s defection will not solve the problem for Netanyahu, as he will still need more votes from the Knesset members in order to secure a parliamentary majority. It is expected that more attempts by Netanyahu to split the ranks of other blocs, specifically the “New Hope” party, will be revealed later, as this is the least expensive option for him if he succeeds in it.
In any case, the stages of the Israeli government crisis have proven that this crisis will remain open to a variety of scenarios, including the holding of elections that are the fifth since the beginning of the year 2019. This is due to a set of main factors, including and on top of which is the position on Netanyahu, in addition to To a number of transformations that Israeli society has undergone, the most prominent of which is the flare up of ideological conflicts, especially with regard to the secular struggle with the “Haredim”. These factors preceded the Netanyahu crisis, and they will also remain after his departure, although they will take different forms and appearances.

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