Bibi's Nightmare: Unruly Coalition Might Fall — or Worse, Survive - Israel – Forward.com
by J.J. Goldberg
...a government that manages to survive and function reasonably well could make Netanyahu’s life even more miserable. The concessions he made to the Jewish Home party during the last day of negotiating give the ultranationalist settler-backed party control over some of the most explosive issues in Israeli politics and diplomacy. The truth about Netanyahu, too seldom noted, is that for all his public shows of defiance on the world stage, he’s always been careful not to cross over a certain line and turn Israel into a serious international pariah. The Jewish Home under party leader Naftali Bennett and his lieutenants has no such compunctions. There’s a messianic impulse there that welcomes it.
Bennett himself is slated to become education minister, after trying and failing to wrest defense or foreign affairs. But his No. 2, veteran settler militant Uri Ariel, 62, is slotted into the Agriculture Ministry. That puts him in a key position to aid and expand Jewish settlements deep into the West Bank, beyond the suburban settlement blocs that Israel is generally expected to keep. Ariel has also been given control of the controversial, semi-autonomous Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization.
Even more controversial is the designation of the party’s No. 3, secular-nationalist firebrand Ayelet Shaked, 39, as justice minister. Internationally she’s best known for her Facebook post during last summer’s Gaza war calling for the mass destruction of “the entire Palestinian people,” including “women and the elderly.” She later deleted the post. At home, though, she’s best known for her legislative campaigns against political dissent, human rights activists, minority rights and the independence of Israel’s vaunted Supreme Court. As justice minister she’ll be the chief policy maker and executive officer on all those issues. She’s also been given control of the committee that appoints judges.
Perhaps even more important, Shaked will head the secretive Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which decides which bills are allowed onto the Knesset floor, and when. The previous justice minister, Tzipi Livni, used the position during the last Knesset to bottle up some of the most inflammatory right-wing bills proposed by Shaked and her allies. Now the fox will be guarding the chicken-coop.
It should be noted that none of the Netanyahu-Bennett agreements have been put in writing yet, and that Ariel is putting up a fight, demanding that he receive the justice ministry. Hard to tell where that will end up.