The political Zone: Partitions and standing up for principles

Netanyahu. Wikipedia, Kremlin

On Tuesday, Gideon Sa’ar announced a split from the ‘Mamlachti’ camp Party. The camp was a union of the ‘Blue and White’ party led by Benny Gantz, “new hope” led by Sa’ar, and a few other politicians – such as Gadi Eisenkot and Matan Kahana. The party won 14 seats in the last election and was one of the most dominant in the opposition – until it joined the coalition in the week after the war broke out. Gantz and Eisenkot became members of the limited War Cabinet and have been senior partners in the decision-making process of the war so far.

The official explanation for Sa’ar’s decision to split up lies in his desire to join the War Cabinet, fearing a lack of coordination between his positions and those of Gantz and Eisenkot (Sa’ar is considered to be more right-wing). The timing of the decision is fascinating in two ways: First, the camp party is now leading the mandated surveys by a huge margin, and can be expected to win the next election – but splitting it completely devours the cards. Second, recently, the pressure on Gantz to withdraw from the government in order to put pressure towards elections has grown; Sa’ar’s spli gives Netanyahu’s government a kind of insurance for a stable government for the duration of the war, and lowers Gantz’s pressure. “Thank you and good luck,” Gantz wished sa’ar in response to the decision.

At the same time, it seems that the political crisis that threatened to bring about the immediate dissolution of the government – the question of the Haredi draft law – will be postponed by a few months, after Defense Minister Galant agreed to postpone the end of the temporary Haredi recruitment freeze for three months, until the end of June. Nevertheless, the government will be obliged to provide answers to the High Court regarding the continued funding of the yeshiva’s in the absence of an official law.

In the wider political arena, the friction between Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden has increased in recent days, mainly because of the question of the action in Rafah that is approaching us. It seems that many in the American administration have put Netanyahu personally as a scapegoat, placing upon him their frustration with Israel’s conduct as a whole, and even publishing an intelligence assessment of their faith of the end of his political career. “Israel is not a US protectorate,” a senior political official said. Netanyahu himself addressed the question of the action in Rafah: “You cannot say that you support Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas, and then oppose Israel when it takes the necessary actions to achieve this goal… Israel will win this war, no matter what.”

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