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Netanyahu’s challenge


The leading party in the current coalition, Likud Beytenu, has a near monopoly on matters of high politics.

The task of governance is often divided into two components – high politics and low politics.High politics refers to those tasks which are closely related to the prerogatives and responsibilities of sovereignty, primarily foreign affairs and national defense. Low politics encompasses almost all other matters, from economics to culture to education, from the rule of law to the personal status of each and every citizen.

On the basis of this schematic, Israel’s recently formed government is a true hybrid, the first such government in the nation’s modern history.

The leading party in the current coalition, Likud Beytenu, has a near monopoly on matters of high politics.

It controls the office of the prime minister, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry. It also chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and maintains a strong majority in the so-called “inner cabinet” which has informal responsibility over all matters of national security.

For reasons of politics, Israel’s current government even created a brand new ministry of International Relations – which might just as well be called the ministry of high politics – and that too is controlled by Likud Beytenu.

Likud Beytenu’s dominance in matters of high politics is completely justified.

In the election which preceded the formation of the current government, only the Tzipi Livni Party – Hatnua – humbly headed by Tzipora Livni, who served as Israel’s foreign minister in Ehud Olmert’s discredited government, directly challenged Likud Beytenu and its leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, for the position of prime minister. And her party was trounced by Likud Beytenu, which out-polled Hatnua by more than five to one. To underscore this thrashing, Netanyahu appointed Livni to the position of justice minister in his current government, an appointment which underscores her demotion from high politics to low politics.

Livni is not the only coalition partner of Likud Beytenu to be relegated to the level of low politics. The same fate was meted out to Likud Beytenu’s other coalition partners Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, and Naftali Bennett, the leader of Bayit Yehudi. The portfolios received by these two parties, as important as they may be with regard to domestic Israeli politics, hardly touch upon matters of sovereignty and security. And rightfully so – during the course of the election campaign which preceded the formation of the current coalition Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party all but ignored issues of foreign affairs and national defense. Bennett openly endorsed Netanyahu for the position of prime minister.

To be sure, Netanyahu did not have many options when building the current coalition. His party won far too few seats for him to rule unfettered over both high and low politics. And the polity – we the people – was no longer willing to allow the ruling party to expend the public’s largess on the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties just to keep Yuval Steinitz in the Finance …read more
Source: Israpundit

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Posted by on April 12, 2013. Filed under Israeli News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.