A Sad Commentary on the Bennett – Lapid Tango

A Sad Commentary on the Bennett – Lapid Tango

A sad commentary on the current political situation in Israel. If Naftali Bennett does indeed become Prime Minister of Israel, he will be the first Prime Minister in the history of Israel to have more security guards than mandates.

As you hail this possible agreement the resulted entirely from Bennett turning his back on the most significant promises he made to his constituents, remember that in uniting the tiny parties, this new government will have, indeed, sidestepped the voice of the people.
The man whose party pulled in only 6.2% of the votes, will lead over the man whose party received 24.19%. To create this coalition, Lapid/Bennett “united” seven out of the ten smallest parties in the election with just one of the top three parties.
What Manner of Unity is This?

Still, they are calling this a “unity” government. But, what unity is this? If you are right wing, this is anything but a right wing government. Nevertheless, Bennett had the audacity to suggest his government will be more right wing than Netanyahu. Sadly, this represents yet another attempt by Bennett to fool and lie to people, as he did to those who voted for him.

Ultimately, what you have is a coalition united by and dedicated to one single goal – getting rid of Benjamin Netanyahu. But there are two main problems with this coalition.
Circumventing Isn’t Democracy
First, inevitably one can draw the conclusion that in circumventing Netanyahu, what Bennett/Lapid have done is circumvent the single largest party in Israel and the voices of the majority of Israel. Even many within Bennett’s party object to creating a coalition which includes one (if not more) parties that feature someone who proudly visited Yasir Arafat’s grave and is in favor of making it illegal to ask a 17-year-old Jewish boy to put on tefillin.

Bennett betrayal-meretz
Tamar Zandberg at Arafat’s Grave
Is that bad, circumventing the largest party? Getting rid of Netanyahu after so many years? Not really. But it is a goal that becomes irrelevant the day after they take office. From that moment, what unites them disappears and what divides them becomes both critical and ultimately fatal.
Bibi served Israel very well and probably should retire to let new voices, new ideas come in. More, he is plagued with too many scandals. His enemies in government have spent more effort trying to destroy him than run the country. Indeed it would have been better if he had gracefully left to allow the right wing the victory it achieved in the last elections. More, he would have been able to influence the next leader in Likud and therefore the next Prime Minister…and it wouldn’t have been Bennett or Lapid.
Why this Isn’t About Unity
 So, what does this mean for Israel? Well, it doesn’t mean unity. Let’s start from the bottom. Ra’am got 4 seats…they are what can make or break the coalition. If you are for advancement of gay rights, kiss that goodbye for this government (Ra’am has veto power and will block any laws that focus on the legalization of same-sex marriages won’t be happening, even if a large anti-religious block in the coalition (Liberman, Yesh Atid, Meretz) pushes for civil marriages.
If you are hoping for a solution to the issue of Haredim serving, understand the anti-Haredi rhetoric the above parties will unite the Haredi community against cooperating in any way and so rather than a sudden and amazing mass switch in which Haredim serve (something the army doesn’t really even have the mechanism or budget to encompass), instead, the slow and steady trend of increasing service of Haredi soldiers may well reverse.
Consider even before the coalition’s final formation, the words and actions of Meretz in their long established war against religion (and the IDF). Remember it was Meretz who referred to the action of soldiers as “trigger-happy” and used the light shining on their party to propose a ban on Jewish outreach aimed at Jewish youth – trying to make it equivalent to the actions of Christian missionaries. For Zandberg and Meretz, they are anxious to eliminate the “Jewish” in Israel being “the Jewish State”.
Oil and Water Don’t Mix
How will that jive with Bennett’s support base…the national religious Jews (many of whom feel betrayed by Bennett’s lies). This coalition, then, is doomed from the start on all issues related to a variety of critical issues for Israel. Religious matters. Continued building in Yehuda and Shomron. Gay rights. Relations with neighboring countries. Social issues. Economic issues. Judicial issues. In each case, one or more parties will have to take a position against the core values of the party. So far, the only one who’s shown a willingness to do that, is Bennett.
Lieberman takes a hard line on negotiations; Meretz takes a hard line of its own in favor of utterly suicidal compromises. Other than their anti-Bibi agreement, what does this “unity” coalition offer in the sense of real unity? How can whatever they do be considered, as Bennett would have you believe, to be “more right-wing” than Bibi?
And what of negotiations with Hamas and Gaza? Gideon Saar was against the recent ceasefire agreement, as was Avigdor Lieberman (and a fair amount of the Israeli population). Mansour Abbas protested Israel responding to Hamas rockets. Seriously. How long do you think he’ll sit in bed with Lieberman? Most know the answer is not long at all.
Political Suicide is Rarely Reversible
 Currently, the attitude of many is that Bennett has “no loyalty” – is that really what we need as a Prime Minister? Certainly many of the people who voted for Bennett regret their choice. More, there is deep resentment and an overall sense of betrayal. More than one expressed the opinion that trust in Bennett is gone.
When we voted in March 2021, there was a clear mandate for a right-wing government. Although Gideon Sa’ar deserves credit for wasting a clear mandate issued by the people, Naftali Bennett deserves credit for destroying it. What will remain, long after this “unity” agreement, is utter contempt for both men. They call it political suicide and that’s what it is. The only real question is how long it will take for the poison to seep through the edges of this agreement.
The Negatives that Unite this Coalition
 Sadly, what unites Lieberman and Meretz is their hatred of the religious. What unites Benny Gantz and Mansour Abbas is their thirst for power and titles. And what unites Lapid and Bennett are ego above honor; power above loyalty.
I have a strong feeling that the anger we feel will last a lot longer than this “unity” government. Really, there are only two questions in Israel today.
First, “How long will it last?” So far, the overall range is anywhere from 10 minutes to 18 months. And second and perhaps even more ironic, is “What will be the final issue that breaks it?” To this, perhaps the most accurate response was, “What won’t?”


  1. Esther Revivo

    Kudos on a beautifully written blog post that accurately portrays that sad political situation we now face. I agree with every point you mentioned. Indeed, the only unifying concept held by the parties of this ‘unity’ government is the wish to rid the country of Bibi Netanyahu. Bennett lied to his constituency and IMHO he has no political future. He’s lost his former voter base and will be hard put to find a new one. I can only pray that at the last moment, someone in Yamina will come to his/ her senses and prevent this nightmare of a government from being sworn in. Well done yet once again my dear friend!

  2. Michael

    1. You conveniently left out all the negatives of the status quo. 2. Why aren’t you upset at Smotrich? He was also a hold out in what Bibi was trying to concoct…perpetual elections to serve one man is not the better option. 3. How come Netanyahu wouldn’t resign and let someone else lead the Likud instead in order to save a right wing government? 4. When Netanyahu formed the government with Barak did he betray his voters then? 5. Imagining the worst doesn’t mean it will definitely happen. If this new government doesn’t last which I agree is not unlikely we can finally form a right wing government that does right wing things instead of just talking about it.

    1. Thank you, Michael. To answer your questions:

      1. Yes, there are many negatives about the status quo. For example, I think it is unacceptable that Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. I doubt that status quo will change if this “unity government” comes into existence. There are huge problems with not having a real government and an approved budget. That’s true. But I don’t think a bad government is better than no government and I don’t believe a bad budget is better than no budget.

      2. I didn’t vote for Smotrich. I don’t particularly like him but he has, at least, stayed true to those who did vote for him. I did vote for Bennett based partially on his promise NOT to go with Lapid. Had he been honest, I wouldn’t have given him a chance this time. Had he told us he was going to go with Meretz, again, I wouldn’t have gone with him and I’m not even sure he would have passed the threshold. I don’t think Netanyahu was any happier about perpetual elections than anyone else and to say this has served one man is just not being accurate.

      3. You’d have to ask Netanyahu why he doesn’t resign but from his standpoint, why should he? He delivered 30 seats to his party – more than 4 times above what Bennett delivered to his party. Should Bibi resign? As I wrote in the article, I do believe it’s time but regardless, ISRAEL voted and even if you don’t like the results, the message was very clear. Israel strongly wanted a right wing government. And it isn’t for anyone outside Likud to decide who the leader of the Likud party is.

      4. Did Netanyahu betray his voters when he went with Barak…to some extent, probably. More…in next comment

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