I have caught COVID, am in isolation and have a bit of a fever, so I’m allowing myself to think outside the box, and even hover above it. If you don’t like it, I’ll just blame COVID delusions. Here is the word of COVID-19:
The rationale: Naftali Bennett’s government has two circles of defense. The first is the coalition, and the second – the anti-Bibi bloc. The first circle is shrinking – today it stands on the edge of 59 to 60 lawmakers. The second circle, which includes the six lawmakers of the Joint List, who are against the return of Netanyahu to power – numbers 65 lawmakers.
Without the second circle, the government would have fallen a long time ago. Lawmaker Idit Silman (Yamina) is being careful not to cut herself off entirely from the coalition, because what Netanyahu is selling her is just words. She knows he doesn’t have a majority of 61 lawmakers to form a government – the Joint List won’t hand that to him.
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That is why, if we really want to block Netanyahu, then we must strengthen this bloc – the coalition one – treat it with respect, and this is with the understanding that the Joint List is not willing to sit in a government which, among its jobs, is busy managing the occupation and closures. And, most important of all, is the need to do this publicly, to announce that yes, we – in other words, the anti-Bibi bloc – are divided, but we will cooperate to prevent his return.
I propose that Naftali Bennett convene a roundtable to which all the heads of the parties in the government and the Joint List are invited, to consider how to carry out the mission. It’s the ABC of proper procedure, which will reinforce the commitment of all sides. And if all the adversaries sit down together, then I propose a framework for how the bloc should act:
1. All sides commit to oppose any no-confidence motion by Likud.
2. All the parties support the law that would prevent a criminal defendant from forming a government.
3. On all the “big” issues, which are not agreed upon, lawmakers will be allowed to vote freely: If the Joint List presents a bill to rescind the nation-state law and Likud, with the goal of embarrassing the government, votes in favor – then the coalition should not respond with complaints about embarrassing the government. After all, without such initiatives the party would cease to be the Joint List. By the same token, if the coalition proposes an apartheid law, and the Likud bloc supports it, then the Joint List can’t complain.
4. Stop the aggression in the occupied and besieged territories – the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
5. Stop all the provocative steps against the Arabs, especially in the Negev.
6. Establish an official authority for development in the Arab community, which will recruit to its rank government officials, Arab experts, representatives of civil society, academic institutions and financial systems. Don’t allow a situation in which this becomes a narrow partisan issue or a mean for scoring political points or undermining political rivals.
7. Appoint lawmaker Yoav Segalovitz (Yesh Atid) as minister of public security, instead of Omer Bar-Lev, who in his statements and operative actions has demonstrated cluelessness toward Arabs.
8. Remove Ayelet Shaked as interior minister. Her anti-Arab practices are a black stain on a proper government, and she is unfit to be in charge of managing the lives of Arabs.
9. If these principles are agreed upon, the Joint List will not propose no-confidence motions, in case Likud joins with them and paves the way for Netanyahu’s return.
Here is a fair and decent framework, which allows independence within the boundaries of what is possible for every side – not a total conquest by the right and subordination of the “left” that is happy to kneel. Just a reminder, all the components of the government – except for Meretz – were subservient to Netanyahu at one point or another: Lapid, Gantz, Bennett, Sa’ar, the Labor Party and Lieberman.