By Daniella Peled
February 19, 2009
So Netanyahu has got what he wanted - or has he? Lieberman has endorsed him, guaranteeing Bibi an imminent return to the seat of power he vacated 10 years ago.
Without even trying, Netanyahu can form a bloc of 65 seats, taking in the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union parties.
Bibi must be cracking open the Golan Heights Blanc de Blanc fizz - except he isn't.
This is the next stage in the nightmare predicted for Netanyahu ever since the inconclusive election results began to emerge. Lieberman acknowledged, even as he endorsed the Likud leader, that a narrow, right-wing coalition "will be a government of paralysis".
Shas will demand money regardless of whatever economic measures Bibi will need to undertake to help swing Israel out of the growing financial crisis. The religious parties will battle against the civil marriage and conversion reforms that are part of the Yisrael Beiteinu platform. Any kind of diplomatic movement with the Palestinians will be impossible, and Israel's friends in the international community will be increasingly alienated.
A broad coalition including both Likud and Kadima would seem the only logical way out of this morass. But personal rivalry is standing in the way, and Kadima is unlikely to compromise now when it could sit back and wait for the inevitable implosion of such an unwieldy right-wing bloc.
Of course, a unity government would be by far the best option for the citizens of Israel, the welfare of the state and the future of the peace process.
But it seems Israel's politicians are just as self-serving and egotistical as their counterparts everywhere else in the world.