This morning the coalition negotiations will begin, on orders from the president. The first meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni will not produce a government. One does not descend from a tall tree in a single jump, and Kadima is a party as full of principles as a pomegranate. At the end of the meeting, the two will issue a joint statement: They have decided to meet again in the coming days. But those who cannot bear the tension can read here what the coming event-packed week will bring: You will be the first to know the happy ending.
Like in a chess game, much depends on the opening moves. If Netanyahu plans his strategy wisely, he will opt to open with a gambit - a move that tempts one's opponent to abandon his place at the center of the board. As for the queen, there are those who think it is actually Dalia Itzik, not Livni. If Netanyahu opens by offering Itzik the post of Knesset speaker, he will gain an immediate advantage, and the negotiations will hit the highway.
The executive branch will thus be headed by a member of Likud, while the legislature will be headed by a member of Kadima. This arrangement is no whit inferior to rotation, they will explain; it is even a bit better - a full sharing of responsibility. "Responsibility" is the name of the game now, and over the next week, everyone will cite it, including the media. On Friday, the outgoing and incoming Knesset speaker was already declaring that there was something to talk about; the Knesset shall not be left a widower.
After Kadima's united front begins to crack, two more moves will break it wide open. Livni will be offered the Foreign Ministry, and Shaul Mofaz - and this is the main thing - will be offered the Defense Ministry. The decision will not be long in coming: The party institutions will be convened without delay, Livni will be presented as the next prime minister after this one, and applause will ring out as the agreement is approved almost unanimously. A few embittered pawns will remain in the field here and there, but the rooks and knights will be satisfied. It will not take very long before the longed-for government arises. And for the who-knows-how-many-eth time, we will once again discover that life is not black and white like a chessboard; it is not either Livni or Netanyahu. And the need to save the nation takes precedence over a different kind of politics; that can be put off to another time.
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