Unless something happens in just two days, Israel will have again failed to form a government. I see several reasons why. First the fault of Benjamin Netanyahu. Here are the reasons we cannot have a unity government.
- He will not give up his Faustian bargain with the Ultra-Orthodox parties. I call it Faustian because I agree with many who see the present direction of this large and growing segment of Israel under the present arrangements as an existential danger to Israel. Most of the males are not trained for any profession, but only to study Talmud and Rabbinic texts. They do not serve in the army. This is a great contrast to the nationalist Orthodox who are a strong part of building Israel. The party under Liberman will not be in a government with them and he has the controlling vote.
- Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery and other crimes. Blue and White under General Benny Gantz say they will not join a government under his leadership. Maybe if he promises to step down before six months and give Gantz the leadership. There would have to be compromises from the Ultra-Orthodox. Probably Netanyahu should step down with a promise he could run again for party leadership if he is cleared and wins the case.
So here is Gantz and blue and white to be faulted. He shares the blame here with Liberman. They could form a minority government with less than 61 votes (the required parliamentary majority) if he allows the Arab Israel parties to vote for his government but to not join the coalition government (members in the cabinet etc.) There are enough votes with them to carry him if Liberman would support this. But Gantz and Liberman find the support of the Arabs is so toxic politically that they will not accept their votes to put them in power even if they are not in the governing coalition. The reason is that these parties are anti-Zionist. Yet they are not like Hamas seeking to see the Jews not living in Israel. They want a one-state solution and equality for Arabs and Jews and for the descendants of Arabs to be able to return. This would probably be the end of the Jewish majority. So what? This will never pass parliament, so why not accept their votes. They really want to be treated equally to Jewish neighborhoods in housing permits, roads, and other infrastructure, hospitals, and schools. I don’t think they are treated fairly. But Liberman will not accept their vote and won’t join a minority government and Gantz probably thinks it is toxic. My thought this could happen in a post 8 weeks ago now seems like a fantasy. The other sad point is that if they could do this, then they could invite Likud into the coalition after Netanyahu is no longer leading Likud.
So we will go to a third election. As of now, Gideon Saar is challenging Netanyahu for party leadership. He is very conservative but has a good integrity reputation. Momentum is building for him but he is not there yet. A new election is predicted to lead to the same result. If Netanyahu again fails to have 61 votes to lead, finally he may step down. His court case could also be beginning. The majority of Israelis in the last polls say that Netanyahu is mostly to blame for no government forming.