This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Today Israel prime minister–designate Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu met for the second time with Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima faction. And, again, Livni said no to a national-unity government.

Good for her. She has said she won't be a fig leaf for a far-right government. Apparently she means it.

The only other party that isn't either haredi or further to the right of the Likud that Bibi could invite into a coalition is Labor, and Ehud Barak, head of that party, has ruled it out.

So now Bibi has to cobble together his coalition out of the Likud's 27 mandates plus the rest of the 65 mandates of the parties that recommended that President Shimon Peres appoint Bibi to form a government. Everyone is convinced Bibi will form a hard-right government that will be short-lived. But here's an issue: Can Bibi form a government at all?


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Netanyahu has until April 3 to form a government of at least 61 Knesset members. The "kingmaker," a.k.a. Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu, would be the likely junior partner in Netanyahu's coalition. Lieberman, we'll recall, is the man who has stated he believes Arab citizens (and religious Jews) who will not swear loyalty oaths to Israel should lose their citizenship. He also believes in transferring the Arab Triangle to Palestinian governance in exchange for settlement blocs in the West Bank — a plan no other party backs.

But now we have Lieberman saying he supports the creation of a Palestinian state. Oh really? We've heard this from right-wing politicians in the past. Ariel Sharon said he was moving toward the creation of a Palestinian state; the problem was that Sharon's creation would have been Gaza plus a rump West Bank and no Palestinian control over East Jerusalem. Lieberman has not, to my knowledge, been more forthcoming with regard to what kind of Palestinian state he envisions.

Nevertheless, it probably doesn't matter. If Lieberman indeed supports a Palestinian state, then he's not only at odds with Netanyahu and the stated Likud platform, but he is at odds with National Union and Jewish Home and, more importantly, their 7 mandates. If Bibi loses those 7 mandates, he doesn't have a majority anymore. He's 3 seats shy.

Even more problematic is Lieberman's secularism. He ran and presumably won many of his votes based on the idea of legalizing civil marriage in Israel, in violation of the status quo agreement between the government and the Orthodox Jews that has been in place since 1948. Lieberman's "support for a Palestinian state" could be as flimsy as Sharon's, but on the issue of civil marriage, he's resolute.

This introduces one of two scenarios. The first is that any one of the religious or national-religious parties could refuse to join the government. Bibi could lose Shas and its 11 mandates, most significantly, again causing him to be unable to form a government. He could lose Jewish Home, leaving him with an ultra-slim 2-seat majority. He could, for that matter, lose United Torah Judaism entirely, leaving him with no majority, or, as a result of a rabbinical ruling handed down today, split UTJ's factions, leaving Bibi with one but not the other and, again, a very, very slim majority of seats. This ruling, by the way, comes on the heels of UTJ's statement that coalition talks were not going all that smoothly.

The other scenario is that the National Union, which is supposedly more nationalist than religious, could end up taking issue with Lieberman's inclusion in the government on the civil-marriage question. Faction leader Ya'akov Katz certainly looks religious, and his biography on Wikipedia does say he studied at Merkaz ha-Rav, the national-religious seminary that gave rise to Gush Emunim and the religious settler movement generally speaking. If Katz leaves National Union over the issue, then that still gives Netanyahu a 3-seat majority, but he can't afford to lose any of the 65 seats he claimed he had locked up on election day.

So while it's likely that Bibi will be able to cobble together this "coalition of the loony," there's a distinct possibility that he won't be. That will leave Livni as the next candidate to have an opportunity to form a government. What would her chances look like? That depends on what the body count is like when Bibi is finished.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to aemathisphd on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 09:40 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.