Weekly Commentary: Is Fear of Frying The Key Dynamic in Coalition Forming
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 21 February 2013
It has been said that Israelis fear "frying" [being a patsy] more than
This may very be the key dynamic explaining pretty much every actor in any
way associated with the coalition forming process today.
Bennett doesn't want to end up being a patsy in agreeing to join the
coalition only to find himself either not in the final coalition or in a
coalition that adopts either policies or makes appointments that make him
look like a patsy. Consider the national laughing stock he would be today,
for example, if Bennett had already announced he was joining the coalition
without finalizing policy principles first and he learned from news
reports, after the fact, that Livni was being appointed to negotiate with
The silence of pretty much all the Likud MKs to the Livni appointment also
reflects their "fear of frying". Livni may want to divide Jerusalem,
transfer Ariel to the Palestinians and serve witness before the world that
various harebrained schemes are indeed viable. But if the Palestinians never
agree to talk the appointment will be bereft of meaning. And any Likud MKs
who lost their chance to be a minister or hold a select position in the
Knesset because they voiced their opposition to the appointment would, after
the fact, be patsies.
Yair Lapid would also be a patsy if he joined the coalition and none of the
agenda that got him elected was implemented.
It may also be possible that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is concerned
that while he actually endorses the broad strokes of the agendas that
brought so many votes to Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi that he would end up
being a patsy if these parties were both in the coalition and these agendas
were realized since Netanyahu might not end up getting the credit for the
This brings us to the Likud voters.
The Livni appointment makes many Likud voters already feel like patsies.
They voted for Sharon and they got the retreat from Gaza advocated by Sharonís
rival and ridiculed by Sharon during the campaign.
Now they voted for Netanyahu who, during the election campaign ridiculed the
idea that Livni would negotiate with the Palestinians, only to find Mr.
Netanyahu in his very first coalition forming announcement, appointing Livni
to the task.
As the polls coming out now indicate, if elections were held again today,
there are a lot of Likud voters who donít want to risk being patsies a third
Which brings me to venture a guess.
The absolute biggest patsy in the State of Israel should the country go to
new elections because a coalition of 61 is not formed would be Binyamin
At the end of the day, Netanyahu's own "fear of frying" will compel him to
come up with the 61 votes. Come what may.
A final thought: the most useful election reform would be to drastically
reduce the coalition forming period to seven days plus a seven days
extension. No good comes from burning 28 days and an additional 14 days on
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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