1. Israeli political parties Likud and Blue and White tied in the April 9 elections, but Likud had the only chance of building a governing coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.
2. He had 65 natural partners. Many in the Blue and White share Bibi’s views on Israel’s security, but would not enter a government with him, as he has been recommended for indictment on bribery and corruption charges. They said they would only work with a Bibi-less Likud party.
3. However, Avigdor Liberman would not join Netanyahu over one sticking point: the new law demanding that ultra-Orthodox Jews serve in the IDF like the rest of our children. The Israel Supreme Court told the Knesset to pass a law, as the present situation—under which any Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jew) can be exempt under the idea that he is a scholar—when often he is not only not a scholar, but unemployed. The law, passed decades ago, was meant to allow potential Torah scholars to study, but it has been grossly abused. There is a law ready to be passed but now that the Haredi have power, they want to weaken it. Liberman said he his five seats would not join the government unless they voted on the law that has already been prepared.
4. Bibi would probably like to do this, but he is indebted to the 16 ultra-Orthodox ministers in his coalition. If he gives in to Liberman, they will leave.
5. Intense pressure was put on Liberman to give in—even spreading many lies about him. However, he is extremely strong-willed.
6. New elections could mean the end of the road for Netanyahu. He has been in office so long that he us referred to in jest by many in the Israeli public as “King Bibi” and his character on a comedy show dress like a Ghadafi like dictator–with medals on his suit jacket.
He may have made a massive miscalculation here. Before the election, he promised not to seek a law that would exempt a sitting prime minister from prosecution. However, as soon as he won, he softened his position and in recent weeks has openly sought the “immunity law” and wants to curb the power of our supreme court, so they can not overturn new laws.
Many say this would lead to the tyranny of the majority. His rivals Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid of Blue and White have said such a move is a threat to Israel’s democracy—and it is. Somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 Israelis rallied Saturday night in Tel Aviv in an effort to protest these unprecedented moves. The Supreme Court justices themselves are stunned by this potential move.
7. With less than 24 hours for Netanyahu to rescue his potential coalition, it looks like we will go back to elections on Sept. 17. However, this time Bibi has to deal with the fact that the public knows that he backtracked on an issue whereby he would benefit personally (not go to trial because he is prime minister) and his opponents will make sure this is front of mind to all Israelis. To be clear, even a majority of Bibi’s natural supporters do not support curbing the authority of the Supreme Court.
So there you have it…