The latest news from Israel, aside from the arrival of COVID-19 and a significant crash of the Israeli stock market, is that there is now a more serious prospect that an Israeli government will be put together this time.  The President of Israel has given Gantz and the Blue and White the mandate to form a government within 28 days.  This came after Netanyahu's rightwing coalition failed to muster more than 58 votes.  Efforts to buy off members of Blue and White to give them 61 votes failed (it was also illegal).  Gantz has 61 votes to be elected Prime Minister, with all members of the Arab List and Labor-Meretz aligned.  But that is different from a majority in the Knesset.  Several members of the Arab List will not agree to automatically vote with Blue and White in the Knesset and several members of Blue and White will not accept the idea that they are dependent on the Arabs to maintain a majority.

So this now opens the door for a national unity government anchored in Blue and White and Likud.  This is not a done deal, but it is now the most likely outcome, according to a well-informed Israeli friend.  Such a national unity coalition would be moderate.  It might adopt a different policy on Syria and on negotiations with the Palestinians, who have so far refused to enter into any dialogue with either Israel or the United States.  

There are still substantial hurdles to overcome, but this is the least bad outcome for Israel and it is increasingly probable.  The danger of the COVID-19 virus spreading in Israel and of the Israeli economy taking a substantial hit as the result offers further motivation for ending the yearlong situation of ungovernability.

Netanyahu's criminal trial has been postponed until at least late May, so the government deal must be resolved before he goes on trial.  

At minimum, Netanyahu's bravado claims that he would move ahead with annexation are now just empty hot air.  Trump Administration has told the Israelis that annexation at this time is unacceptable.  For Netanyahu, Trump is one of his last friends and he never planned to jeopardize that relationship by going ahead with annexation.  A national unity coalition will leave the ultra-right settlers and the ultra-religious parties on the margins–and that is a good thing.

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  1. Charlie Wilson says:

    I don’t see why we should care at all what happens to that shitty little country. I do care some what that their economy doesn’t tank because if it does then we would have to end up paying for it. And that would really ruin my day.

  2. ex PFC Chuck says:

    And best of all, as you note, it may lead to Netanyahoo’s sorry a** vacationing in the slammer.

  3. Mathias Alexander says:

    What does “Palestinians entering into dialogue” mean here? Agreeing to be run off of their property?

  4. confusedponderer says:

    things are difficult for Netanyahu atm, so bad that he even went off his demand to get immunity for these cases (iirc 1000, 2000, 3000) he is to be trialed for.
    As for Trump’s intervention you mentioned to Bibi’s annexation plans …
    I am sober enough to accept that there is less than zero interest for palestinians or international law in Trumps mind (or the outsourced thing in Kushner’s head).
    So, a tad cynical, I assume that his reasons are wanting good news for his by now about two and half years old permanent and perpetually witch hunted by everything and everyone election capaign, and of course no other wall street crash since the to a good part inherited enconomy is the other thing his campaign runs on, besides his ego.
    The sad part is that that is probably true.
    Trump is after all the man who bombasted that Americans are going to win so much they’ll get sick of winning. He is also the president of the USA.
    In that job he sits at the desk about that, as iirc Truman said, is the place where the buck stops. Not so with Trump.
    He just said that he won’t take any responsibility for the coronavirus mess (never mind that it is his job to deal with it), while happily spreading blame to Europe and, naturally China by calling corona the “China Virus”. If you think that’s messy and ugly – Trump is quite impulsive so I am confident it’ll get much worse in content and vulgar in expression during spring, summer and autumn.
    That “I love trade war with China” dude Navarro probably fainted with orgasm hearing that.

  5. confusedponderer says:

    ex PCF Chuck,
    re And best of all, as you note, it may lead to Netanyahoo’s sorry a** vacationing in the slammer.
    What he probably has in mind is a nice, calm illegally built jail villa with a big swimming pool and wonderful view over Syrian mountains and desert on the illegally annexed Golan, perhaps called “Trump Castle” or “I Demand To Be Pardoned Asap House”.
    They could play the joke on him played on Mielke when he was sentenced for a murder of a cop he done in the 20s or 30s (no limitation period for murder here).
    Mielke was a little senile eventually so they (admittedly nastily) put an unconnected red phone in his cell which he used to call many fictitious agents. They could add an unconnected green phone for Netanyahu so he could insult fictitious Iranian ayatollas a lot.

  6. Fred says:

    The same crowd that propagandized the US into WMD Iraq, kept us in “purple finger” democratic Iraq, helped Kharzai keep the Afghan girls in school, praised the Orange Revolution, the Arab Spring, Liberate Libya, ad nauseam are the same ones promoting pandemic panic. But by all means, OMB!

  7. confusedponderer says:

    re “promoting pandemic panic”
    Thanks to my deligthtfully sensible CEOette and the much less delightful Corona virus I and all my colleagues am since friday ‘sentenced’ to home office until a come back info by e-mail (= for now, open ended).
    That’s so far fine since my time to get from bed to work is, talking a shower, getting fresh coffee and a small breakfast included, about 15 minutes. The coffee is better too.
    Not so fine is the promoted pandemic panic. Some loons have spread rumours that supermarkets are to be closed soon, resulting in idiots making hysteric mass buying. Our minister for health just warned of just that, without speaking of ‘fake news’.
    I saw that “live” on monday morning when I just quick wanted a few truly essential things (= lemonade, cookies, chocolade) for the working day.
    I was at the shop ten minutes too early, and a crowd of some 15 turks waited before it babbling and smoking, mostly face masked and rubber glove wearing.
    I left and got back to the shop when it was open for 15 minutes and searched my stuff. The toilet paper shelf had a note “just two packages per person”. It was already almost empty.
    When I got to the cash point I saw why. In just the left cue there were some 8 people who had all bought two, the dafter ones even three, packages – the double ones with 20 rolls. I counted 400 rolls just there. They went there planning to buy that and about emptied the shop in 15 minutes.
    In supermarkets the hysteria is clearly visible (by absence):
    Sold out are toilet paper, handkerchief, kitchen paper rolls, pump hand soaps, sanitary towels, desinfection stuff, flour, milk, the better canned soups, noodles, Vitamin C stuff, rubber gloves, plastic bags etc pp
    And on thursday last week a colleague of mine found it funny to tell someone at the phone that, hahaha, he was totally dangered to be infected with corona because I was always touching things and his computer on his desk.
    The joke was lost on me and I was a little pissed off about that lie, the nasty defamation and the generally antisocial attitude. Now that person has terminated his contract and is going to stay only to the end of march.
    I complained to his boss, who agreed that that was very unacceptable and he immediately went to HR. They found that very unacceptable as well and handed the colleague a written warning 15 minutes later. Two more of that and he’ll be told to go asap, with a likely reduced final salary.
    Admittedly quite a kick in the balls but he really needed to wake up. What a “Kotzbrocken” that he manages to get a red card two weeks before leaving, being on probation and under watchful eyes for that time. In that light, for the antisocial and the bystanders home office is a true blessing too.

  8. Hardbop34 says:

    So Benny G did form the coalition but I’m trying to imagine Ysrael Beitenu in the same room as the Arab MKs. Also Bibi will be up to all his tricks to get someone to walk, otherwise he goes to jail. There is that glimmer of hope now. There was none under Bibi. In other news from Israel: The Is. govt has published a lot of material on covid 19 but all in Hebrew. Is. Palestinians (21% of pop) had to write & advertise theirs in Arabic. The virus hasn’t hit hard yet, none in Gaza. My stomach rolls when I think of covid 19 in that hell hole.

  9. confusedponderer says:

    To clarify what I wrote about Trump saying that he won’t take any responsibility for the coronavirus mess:
    What he precisely says is this:
    * If you losers who have studied medicine or biology and made a PHD there and don’t have my brilliant gut telling them what to do (it knows earlier when I have to go to the loo than you doctors!) … I will happily add your success to my glory. There the buck stops at his desk.
    * If my ‘everything will be total fine, total fine, total fine‘ was, say, utter BS and as credible as a 300 day weather forecast I will happily throw you so called experts under the bus, before your incompetence dangers my re-election campaign. There the buck stops not at his desk.
    And now, off with me to Mar-a-Lago, to do presidential stuff. Also it is far away from potential corona infected people, unlike the whitehouse where I met the likely infected Bolsonaro and clearly infected ministers of his staff and my own employees and family members like my perhaps also infected blonde daughter who also met Bolsonaro.
    And of course I won’t let me be tested, because I feel well and my gut tells me not to do so. Never mind these ‘experts’ who speak of this “incubation period”, whatever that is. Clearly overpaid these professional pessimists, I need to cut their salaries.
    Also, moving little while having milkshakes, ice cream and hamburgers while playing golf will strengthen my immune system. To health!
    But also, may all readers have luck and a happy and healthy wednesday.

  10. Fred says:

    Fifteen Turks? Sure they aren’t German citizens? The media here still pump out the video of one store aisle of empty shelves, left side only- I guess they hope nobody notices what was left out of the report – such as the US having more than 100 factories making paper products like TP and most places get daily delivery, they also show the now 2 week old photo of a father hugging his daughter at an airport as if it were right now. That style of reporting is what is inducing the panic.
    Your work anecdote about touching everything, that’s the tale of the covid19 infected NBA millionaire jacka@@ who exposed his teammates and sports reporters, he won’t get fired as the media is covering for him. The season got cancelled due to that and lots of people will lose weeks or even months of income as a result. He should get sued into bankruptcy.

  11. confusedponderer says:

    it is possible here that they have two passports. Obviously I didn’t check for that, but I know how folks from that area look and speak and had a couple as colleagues. And there are plenty of those in my neighbourhood.
    If you saw a man in a tartan kilt with red hair who, when speaking, is making noises that sound like a bad cough a reasonable assumption would be that he is scottish.

  12. confusedponderer says:

    re That style of reporting is what is inducing the panic.
    I wouldn’t blame that on the media and reporting with bias (or Trump’s “perpetual fake newsery”). It isn’t that simple and at the same time also more simple. Some folks are just nutty, stupid, asocial, drunk or on drugs.
    One man in Germany just went on a wild hoarding shopping spree (Hamsterkauf) trying to buy no less 50kg of flour (100 pounds) and went wild.
    The shop reasonably refused to sell him such an immense amount (everything in the shop) since something ought to be left to other people too. After insulting and swearing a lot he went on to get physical agressive and attacked two employees which led to him being arrested, likely charges assault and/or heavy assault, insulting, threats.
    Alas, but that just sucks.
    What really scared me was to read that Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro have something in common – beyond their general unpleasantness – and that is their imo somewhat remarkable approach to the corona pandemy.
    Obviously a pandemy is bad, being sick is bad anyway, and it’s worse when there is no vaccine. So what to do? Snort some coke and get the idea of herd immunity?
    That means this: Isolation and quarantine are to be avoided. When you achieve that 60% to 80% of the population get infected the survivors will, may, perhaps be immune to COVID-19, only if they survive of course. Think of that carefully: Are not some 40 million sick and just 100.000 death a wonderful quaterly figure and an about 100% insurance for re-election? Or maybe it’ll just get you a rope and a lantern, you never know

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