Or, to put in a more catchy, election-time parlance: “it’s either Buji and Bibi or Meretz and Buji”. The only way to keep Bibi from returning to the Prime Minister’s office, she proclaimed, was to strengthen the Meretz party, allowing it to act as a blocking mechanism against any center-left tendency shift to the right. Otherwise, giving into their worst inclinations, Tzipi Livni and Issac Herzog were liable to join and prop up another right-leaning coalition.
Of the center-left politicians willing to join the coalition, Jonathan Freedland wrote disapprovingly, in tones eerily similar to today’s situation:”they are no less attached to ministerial office. It seems they like the salary, car and warm glow that comes with power and saw no reason to trade that for the chill of opposition. They will surely be seen for what they are: mercenaries and hacks who hold no principle that can’t be sacrificed.”
Perhaps most glaring was then-political novice Yair Lapid’s insistence on ‘sharing the burden’, only to ally himself with extremist-in-sheep’s-clothing Naftali Bennett on their way into the coalition. Lapid, who at time won a whopping 19 mandates, no small feat for a new party and inexperienced politician, chose the safety of the Finance Ministry under Netanyahu, rather than acting as a kingmaker capable of keeping the right from returning to power. Given their past behavior, and their current refusal to rule out joining Bibi’s ranks in case of a Likud victory, who’s to say that we won’t see a repeat of the last two election cycles?
Nonetheless, the reality still stands that these parties acted as unwitting fig leafs in both the 18th and 19th Knessets, lending their respectability to a policy of complete stagnation regarding the peace process (amongst other misguided policies). Israeli voters would be wise to remember this come election day, lest they expect different results from the same strategy.