Before there was Benjamin Netanyahu, there was Ayre Deri.
He started out as a political wunderkind who shot up to power. He was a whizz in an election campaign, gaining more and more popularity for his party. But after years at the top, law enforcement began to suspect he was abusing his power to enrich himself. Then came the charges: Fraud. Breach of trust. And worst of all, bribery.
He had thousands of defenders across Israel who said the system was systemically biased against him, because of his political positions. They held rallies of support with signs that said “The nation is with you” and “He is innocent.”
This may sound just like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it’s also the story of Interior Minister and Shas leader Arye Deri.
Amid an unprecedented three-week period, can Israel avoid a third ballot?
Israel entered uncharted territory on Wednesday evening, when Blue and White leader Benny Gantz admitted defeat, telling President Reuven Rivlin that he was unable to form a government.
This is the first time that two candidates have failed to form a coalition, so, naturally, many people don’t know how things are going to proceed.
As dramatic as the announcement was, it’s not clear that it will do much in terms of untangling our current political knot.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that the US no longer considers Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria to be illegal was a dramatic one, reversing the position that the State Department has held for over four decades.
And it was made at a dramatic time, after an unprecedented two elections in one year, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failing to put together a coalition twice and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz having two days left until his deadline for the third attempt at forming a government.
Dichter declared Operation Black Belt a success in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, but warned there will likely be more terrorist attacks from Gaza in the near future.
The only way to put an end to the repeated rounds of rocket fire and IDF retaliation is to go to war in Gaza, and that would be impossible with a government dependent on Arab MKs, Deputy Defense Minister Avi Dichter said on Thursday.
An introduction to game theory from Nobel winner Robert Aumann can help us analyze the political situation.
Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz with his plan on Saturday night: Netanyahu must give up on his 55-seat right-wing bloc, and Gantz must accept the “president’s plan” for a rotation for prime minister so that they can form a national unity government. If one doesn’t compromise, Liberman will support the other.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz began a series of consultations with their closest allies, advisers and leading figures in their parties. But one name has yet to be mentioned in the people consulted: Prof. Robert Aumann, the mathematician who won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in game theory.
“This might take time,” Netanyahu said. “We have to let the IDF do their work.”
Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata
has been in the IDF’s crosshairs for a long time. His assassination was considered over a year ago, and the IDF’s final determination to carry it out was decided – together with Prime Minister and then-defense minister Benjamin Netanyahu – 10 days ago. And while the IDF’s considerations were apparently free of politics, there will likely be political reverberations to the actions taken in the middle of the government-forming period.
“This might take time,” Netanyahu said. “We have to let the IDF
do their work.”
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.
The precarious political situation – both Bennett and Shaked’s specifically, and the broader political context – is the other thing that make the agreement of dubious value to them.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously detests New Right co-leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, but there’s something he dislikes more than them: not being prime minister.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that as soon as there were whispers about the pair talking to Blue and White, Netanyahu made sure to lock them down by giving Bennett what he has always wanted since the start of his political career, which is the defense portfolio.