Israeli Readings on the Netanyahu/ Mofaz Deal

After less than two months of assurances that he would never join the Israeli extreme right coalition, Shaul Mofaz, leader of Kadima, the major opposition party, did exactly the opposite by joining with Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a new coalition government. “Not today, not tomorrow”, Mofaz has once promised he will never join the Netanyahu government. It was no surprise to many Israelis who saw Mofaz confirming their impression that “he is a man who upholds his personal interests above his principles”. He once promised not to leave the Likud party, but soon after he joined Kadima.

The controversial deal between Netanyahu and Mofaz contains promises to be fulfilled, such as keeping the new coalition intact till the tenure of the government ends at the end of 2013 and providing support to the Kadima proposed legislation to replace ‘the Tal Law’ which excuses the ultra-orthodox Jews, the Haridim, from the obligatory military service.. Indeed, many Israelis criticized “the secret deal” and the ones who made it. Nitzan Horowitz, the leftist deputy from Meretz Party, interrupted both, Netanyahu and Mofaz, during their press conference by saying: “You have broken the barrier of shame, this deal is a bribe in the full meaning of the world”. He described the deal as “the most rotten political maneuver in the history of Israel”. “The Prime Minister has lost the straight direction of conscience” he said, and the very “desperate” head of the opposition, he added, has also “declared his bankruptcy in relation to principles”.

Along this line, Meretz leader, Zehava Gal-On considered the deal as “a very low political maneuver” and stated that “a coalition consisting of 94 deputies out of the total of 120 deputies is practically a dictatorship which gives Netanyahu a free hand to pass any law he wishes”. For her part, labour party leader, Shelly Yacimovitch whom many Israeli analysts expect to make a big win in the next election, viewed the agreement as “a deal enacted by cowards who took Israeli politics to the lowest level of ridiculousness in the history of Israel”. She said on her facebook page that “the early burial of Kadima for good will give us the opportunity to be the leader of the Israeli opposition”.

Yair Lapid, founder of the new Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, expected to win half the seats of Kadima in the next election, was also very critical saying “what happened in this deal reflects the old ugly, rotten policy in which personal interests override principle and the national interest”. The National Democratic Bloc in the Israeli Knesset warned that the deal might lead the extreme right to dominate the Knesset and “legislate racist laws”. “It would also make the Arab/ Israeli conflict at the bottom of issues to be resolved” a statement indicated, and will allow Netanyahu “to keep pursuing his policy of more and more settlements in the occupied territories”. The statement continued that “Netanyahu needs a national government to enhance the possibilities of waging war against Iran. This new coalition with Kadima gives the new Israeli government the tools to wage war”.

Speaking of a ‘band of three’ dominating politics, Israeli well-known commentator Ben Kasbit called the deal anti-democratic saying “the purpose of this new coalition is to entrench and enforce a military band of three consisting of Netanyahu, (Ehud) Barak and Mofaz who were members of “the special military unit” to run the state. With no serious political opposition and easy to handle news media, the three dominating the state becomes a reality”. According to Yossi Beilin, a left wing politician: “Mofaz proposed before a temporary settlement leading to a final one based on the boundaries of 1967 which does not allow Mofaz to join a government that refuses any settlement following the lines he proposed and are accepted by the Palestinians”.

Many Palestinians consider this new coalition as a new government preparing to wage wars as it is commanded by military figures well versed in shedding blood. But this new coalition appears to be in big quandary created by ‘the Arab revolutions’ which forced Israel to send five military battalions to guard the borders with Egypt. Some Israeli analysts believe that the alliance between Netanyahu and Mofaz was reached because the former wanted to free himself from the increasing influence of the colonizers/settlers on his government and to end his complete reliance on Avigdor Lieberman (the leader of the very extreme right party Yisrael Beiteinu) to keep the coalition intact. Mofaz, meanwhile, agreed to the deal to prevent a complete collapse of Kadima during the next election.

One proverb says: “promises made by the unprincipled are made to be broken”. Mofaz made a public statement lately saying Netanyahu has broken all the promises agreed between them and that he is thinking to take Kadima out of the new coalition. Stay tuned to further acts of betrayals in the so-called “only democracy in the Middle East!!!”