After less than two months of assurances that he would never join the Israeli extreme-right coalition, Shaul Mofaz, leader of Kadima, the major opposition party, did exactly the opposite by joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition government. “Not today, not tomorrow”, was what Mofaz had once said, promising to never join the Netanyahu government. It was no surprise to many Israelis who saw Mofaz confirming their impression that “he is a man who upholds his personal interests above his principles”. He once promised not to leave the Likud party, but soon after he joined Kadima.
The controversial deal between Netanyahu and Mofaz contains promises to be fulfilled, such as keeping the new coalition intact until the tenure of the government ends in 2013 and providing support to the Kadima proposed legislation to replace ‘the Tal Law’ which excuses the ultra-orthodox Jews, the Haridim, from obligatory military service. Indeed, many Israelis criticised ‘the secret deal’ and the ones who made it.
Nitzan Horowitz, the leftist deputy from the Meretz party, interrupted both Netanyahu and Mofaz during their press conference, saying: “You have broken the barrier of shame, this deal is a bribe in the full meaning of the word.” He described the deal as “the most rotten political manoeuvre in the history of Israel. The prime minister has lost the straight direction of conscience” he said, and the very “desperate” head of the opposition, he added, has also “declared his bankruptcy in relation to principles”.
Along this line, Meretz leader, Zehava Gal-On considered the deal as “a very low political manoeuvre” and stated that “a coalition consisting of 94 deputies out of the total of 120 deputies is practically a dictatorship which gives Netanyahu a free hand to pass any law he wishes”. For her part, labour party leader, Shelly Yacimovitch whom many Israeli analysts expect to make a big win in the next election, viewed the agreement as “a deal enacted by cowards who took Israeli politics to the lowest level of ridiculousness in the history of Israel”. She said on her facebook page that “the early burial of Kadima for good will give us the opportunity to be the leader of the Israeli opposition”.
Military band of three
Speaking of a ‘band of three’ dominating politics, Israeli well-known commentator Ben Kasbit called the deal anti-democratic saying “the purpose of this new coalition is to entrench and enforce a military band of three consisting of Netanyahu, [Ehud] Barak and Mofaz who were members of “the special military unit” to run the state. With no serious political opposition and easy to handle news media, the three dominating the state becomes a reality”.
Many Palestinians consider this new coalition as a new government preparing to wage wars. But this new coalition appears to be in big quandary created by ‘the Arab revolutions’ which forced Israel to send five military battalions to guard its borders with Egypt. Some Israeli analysts believe that the alliance between Netanyahu and Mofaz was reached because the former wanted to free himself from the increasing influence of the colonists and to end his complete reliance on Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the very extreme-right party, Yisrael Beiteinu, to keep the coalition intact. Mofaz, meanwhile, agreed to the deal to prevent a complete collapse of Kadima during the next election.
One proverb says: ‘Promises made by the unprincipled are made to be broken’. Mofaz made a public statement lately saying Netanyahu has broken all the promises agreed between them and that he is thinking of taking Kadima out of the new coalition. Stay tuned to further acts of betrayals in the so-called ‘only democracy in the Middle East’.