Topsy turvy world

July 19, 2012

It is too soon to forecast the longer term consequences of Wednesday's murders in Bulgaria, but the adage that a week is a long time in politics has rarely been more clearly demonstrated than over the past few days in Israel.

At the start of the week, Shaul Mofaz was Deputy Prime Minister, having entered the coalition after a political coup, transforming Kadima once again into a dynamic force. Tzipi Livni was a has-been, Yair Lapid a busted flush and Benjamin Netanyahu leader of a coalition with an unassailable majority, ready to repeal the Tal Law for good. None of that is now true.

By pulling Kadima out of the coalition, having concluded that Mr Netanyahu would not, after all, act to end the exemption for the strictly-Orthodox serving in the IDF, Mr Mofaz has probably ended his political career, having spent 70 days as Deputy Prime Minister and achieved precisely nothing. Tzipi Livni's insistence that, when pressed, Mr Netanyahu would always turn to the right rather than the centre now looks to be prescient; Kadima MKs are now looking to her again.

Yair Lapid's consistent stance on the Tal Law means he has a convincing story to tell. And as for Mr Netanyahu: far from securing his coalition, his constant shilly-shallying on this issue and eventual capitulation to the strictly-Orthodox means he will almost certainly face elections next year, on the wrong side of a key issue for the electorate.

Last updated: 3:03pm, July 19 2012