12 thoughts on “Barak Reaches Deal With Netanyahu for Labor Rump to Join Coalition – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. He moves to the right, and Netanyahu has to move to the left.

    If Netanyahu were able to form a government of Israel Beitanyu, Shas, other religious parties that enthusiastically advocate for expansion of the settlements, with or without Kadima and Labor, then that government would actively escalate the process of forced deposition of Palestinians from the trickle and strategic, to the wave and gross.

    By trickle and strategic, I mean the limitation to settlement expansion within the existing delineated settlement zones (designed to be the “finger” expansion pattern, designed to be a stepping stone to annexation but possible to turn back from).

    It represents a delay of the end game, thereby keeping the viable two-state solution still a possibility, rather than an impossibility under unencumbered likud.

    Who knows if labor is savvy enough to actually accomplish that. Netanyahu is a politically tricky character, master of the “fact on the ground”.

  2. As ever, things are a bit more complicated than you paint them. It’s not just ministries; it’s policies that will end up protecting peoples’ jobs etc (new policies to save factories/guarantees regarding public sector salaries etc). The fact that Barak is solely interested in his own fortunes doesn’t change the fact that working Israelis may yet benefit from him joining the coalition. Sometimes there’s more to Israeli politics than the question of the country’s relations with the Palestinians. It will also, btw, mean a severe dilution of Lieberman’s oath of allegiance agenda, particularly as Barak has to carry Israeli-Arab members of Labour if he’s going to pull this off. Despite this, I hope he doesn’t succeed, but I think it’s important to highlight the broader context.

    1. working Israelis may yet benefit from him joining the coalition.

      THIS is the “complication” that I omitted fr. my characterization of Barak’s whorish behavior? He’s going to protect peoples’ jobs? Gimme a break. You’re talking about an incoming PM who’s MO was to place more Israelis on the unemployment rolls than any previous PM. With Bibi’s economics & finance background & interests what possible countervailing force can Barak muster?

      Thanks for that alleged “broader context.”

      1. Have to take Alex’s side here, the coalition agreement Barak got from Netanyahu is indeed an amazing object lesson in bargaining.
        It does include many social-economic provisions:

        The outstanding achievement of the deal itself is within the social-economic field, and was pushed for by Histadrut Labor Federation leader Ofer Eini. It is a sort of economic rescue plan – as it will be marketed to the public and the party delegates at Tuesday evening’s key central committee meeting.
        It includes NIS 100 million for retraining people for different professions, NIS 200 million for funding day and afternoon care for working women’s children, investment in factories and a commitment not to cut salaries in the public sector. Furthermore, the deal promises a gradual hike in benefits for pensioners over the coming three years totaling NIS 950 million.

        That said, the fact that Barak is really a right winger in soul was made many times, once just yesterday by Akiva Eldar. I start to suspect him a kind of a Manchurian Candidate, a man whose hidden agenda is to completely destroy Labor (and the Zionist left with it).

    1. I applaud your participation in the Umm al Fahm demonstration. I’m really pleased to hear that you attended.

      I wasn’t intending to be “aggressive” with you though I was intending to disagree with you. I’m sorry if anything I wrote strayed from that intention.

      Regarding the finance concessions Barak won, I think he made a careful analysis & realized he had to show Labor SOMETHING in return for joining the coalition. He knew he couldn’t achieve anything on the Israeli-Arab conflict front so he abandoned that. There were absolutely no commitments made by Bibi to do anything on that score. That only left domestic issues. So he got Bibi to set up these funds which allowed Barak to tell the faithful they were going to get something out of this disaster. I think it’s all quite cynical & manipulative.

  3. I had the opportunity to hear Barak talking several times, and I never heard him – not even once – saying something that Netanyahu couldn’t sign. He is a real Right-Wing man. It is no surprise he joined the government.

  4. As Peter shows, though, the concessions he secured on economic/welfare issues were substantial, particularly when you take into consideration how badly they did in the elections. Would it really have been responsible and principled to abandon the country to a far-right government? You are right that it’s cynical and manipulative, but that’s a systemic problem, i.e. it’s part of the system. That’s the game everyone has to play. Until the electoral system is changed there’s no way out of it.

    1. Would it really have been responsible and principled to abandon the country to a far-right government?

      I reject the term “abandon.” Retreating to the opposition when one loses an election has always been seen as a principled position. If you have any true political values to represent, you go into opposition and remind the country of what they are as a loyal opposition. I’m surprised that you, being British, wouldn’t recognize this as an honorable English political tradition.

      Can you imagine the British Labor and Conservative Parties joining together in a national unity government? It would be grotesque, just as Labor’s action today is.

  5. I think ‘grotesque’ is an excessive word to use. The British system does not depend on coalition agreements; the Israeli one does, that’s why it throws up all sorts of strange combinations and bedfellows. This is unfortunate, but as it’s all we have at the moment I do think there is something to be said for the arguments in favour of Labour joining the coalition.
    I primarily identify myself as an Israeli, by the way.

  6. It’s incredible! In a little over 30 years the Labour Party has gone from an almost stiffling dominance to total eclipse by Kadima/Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu. It is astonishing that Kadima could now be referred to as a ‘centre’ party.
    I don’t think the ascendancy of the right is altogether unconnected with Israel’s increasing ethical difficulties and its inability to confront them. In hindsight, is it possible to see that the path rightwards was paved by the predominantly leftish founders?

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