TLR 169: Last licks for Likud
This issue is, once again, focused on section B] Domestic Politics. That is partly because there have not yet been major developments, either in A] Regional Developments or C] Macro-economics — although these are surely coming and will be the subject of the next issue, but mainly because that is where the action has been and where I believe far-reaching changes are underway.
The discussion here is split into two distinct topics. One is the here and now and centres on the reality that the new government has a minimal majority in the Knesset, so that the key question being asked about it is “how long can it last?” My analysis rejects the idea that its demise is imminent, a matter of weeks or months, and concludes that late 2016 or early 2017 — ie between 18-24 months after its establishment — is its most likely life expectancy. The rationale involved in reaching that conclusion is based on legal structures regarding the Knesset, the government and the State Budget and I urge you to read it thoroughly, because it dispels some ignorant assumptions and some cherished illusions.
I do not address the scenario whereby the Zionist Union/ Labour joins this coalition, firstly because I don’t think it will happen and secondly, because if it did, we would have a new and entirely different government that would render all previous analysis moot and send us all back to the drawing-board.
The second and longer part of this issue is not ‘here and now’, but rather an analysis of where the party political structure is headed. It begins with Avigdor Liberman’s shock decision not to join this coalition and considers Binyamin Netanyahu’s position as Likud leader and Prime Minister in the past, present and future. Its conclusion, as can be gleaned from the section headings and the title of this issue, is that Likud is having its last hurrah. The composite political movement called Likud will disintegrate back into the various distinct constituencies that comprise it and the leaders of these constituencies — Liberman, Bennett, Lapid, Der’i, Kahlon, perhaps Erdan or Sa’ar — will vie for the leadership of the wider ‘nationalist bloc’ that Likud has dominated and led for forty years.
That analysis is, by definition, long-term and speculative, but it is also radical and flies in the face of the accepted wisdom. If you are not interested in Israeli society and politics, you need not dwell on it, but if you are, I think you will be challenged by it and I would certainly be happy to hear comments and critiques.
B: Domestic Politics
- Life expectancy
- Liberman strikes
- The Netanyahu phenomenon
- Liberman uncouples from Netanyahu
- Deconsolidation: How Likud will un-likud