Thursday, March 14, 2013

Israel has a new government - some analysis

Here is some initial analysis of the new Israeli government.

I. Who is in the government and who is out

As I predicted right after the election, the coalition will be a secular one consisting of:
  1. Likud - Yisrael Beitenu - 31
  2. Yesh Atid (Lapid) - 19
  3. Bayit Hayehudi (Bennet) - 12
  4. Hatenua - Livni - 6
68 seats in total. 

The Charedim parties who desperately wanted to be in the government are out.

II. Main Issues that will be dealt with

The following major issues will be dealt with by the new coalition (over and above the regular security issues like Iran, Hamas, etc.)
  1. The Draft - This was one of Lapid's major issues and he got most of what he wanted. 
    1. Everyone will be drafted except for 1800 yeshiva students. 
    2. Yeshiva students will be able to push off their draft only until the age of 21. At the age of 21 they will  either be drafted or do national service
    3. Mandatory service time for boys will be cut to 2 years
  2. Education - Again Lapid is the big winner here. 
    1. Shai Piron, number 2 on Yesh Atid's list will be the Minister of Education
    2. Within 2.5 years every school will need to teach the core curriculum or face monetary sanctions
  3. Electoral Reform - Again another big issue for Lapid
    1. The threshold to get into the Knesset will be raised to 4% (5 seats) 
    2. A vote of confidence will require 65 votes and an alternative candidate for Prime Minister.
    3. The government will be limited to 18 ministers and 4 deputy ministers

III. The Ministers

The issue of what ministries each party would get almost killed the coalition before it got off the ground. Here are the important ministries and who will lead them.
  • Defense Minister - Likud, Moshe Yaalon
  • Finance Minister - Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid
  • Foreign Minister - Yisrael Beitenu, Avigdor Lieberman (on hold until after his trial)
  • Education Minister - Shai Piron, Yesh Atid
  • Industry, Trade and Labour Minister - Bayit Hayehudi - Naftali Bennet
  • Religious Services Minister - Bayit Hayehudi
  • Justice Minister - Hatenua - Tzippi Livni
  • Health Minister - Yesh Atid
  • Welfare and Social Services Minsiter - Yesh Atid
  • Interior Minister - Likud - Gidon Saar

IV. The Winners 

The big winners are Lapid, Bennet and Livni.


He got most of what he wanted
  • A secular government
  • A small government
  • A draft deal which he can live with
  • Education reform
  • Electoral reform
  • 5 ministers


  • Strengthened his coalition position
  • Head of the powerful Knesset finance committee
  • Took back the Religious Services Ministry from the Charedim


With only 6 seats she managed to do very well:
  • Justice Minister
  • In charge of negotiations with the Palestinians

V. The Losers

The big losers are clearly the Charedi parties. They have basically lost the main things that they have been fighting for over the years:
  • Unlimited draft exemption - gone
  • Complete educational freedom - gone
  • Government Monetary benefits for Avreichim - gone, only for people who work or try to get a job
It will be very interesting to see what happens now in the Charedi world.

The other big loser is Netanyahu. With this coalition he has burned his bridges with the Charedi parties. The perception is that he was outmaneuvered by Bennet and Lapid and he has made many enemies in the Likud. You have to believe that this is his last hurrah as Prime Minister. 


bohr salino said...

Bluke I see some Schadenfreude in your post.
I often do not see eye to eye with the charedim,I guess my view would be closer to Jonathan Rosenblum or even to yours, but I regret the damage done to the Lomdei Tora by people who have no understanding of Tora learning and yidishkeit.

garnelironheart said...

This is certainly a momentous day.
The biggest impact, in my opinion, is the raising of the threshhold which will wipe out a lot of smaller parties and force fringe groups to join existing larger parties to have a Knesset presence. Why, it might even lead to something close to a majority government one day.
But I still don't think you'll ever see a mass Chareidi draft. It'll take the army a few years to get ready for such a large influx and that's assuming there isn't massive civil disobedience on the part of the Chareidi population. Furthermore, if it takes long enough to start implementing the universal draft the government might fall in the meantime and after new elections we might be in a situation where the Chareidi parties once again hold the balance of power. Don't count your Chareidim until they're drafted.

Kevin in Chicago said...

I agree, particularly with your last paragraph. This is the end of the Netanyahu era. B"H, someone, Lapid or someone else, will grow enough to succeed him. Bibi wasn't "outmaneuvered," but there were only so many fences he could credibly straddle.