DEBKAfile Special Report March 18, 2013, 10:22 AM (GMT+02:00)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slotted two Likud stalwarts, Silvan Shalom and Yuval Steinitz, into his last two vacant cabinet posts in time to present his third government to the Knesset Monday, March 18. In the final reckoning, Netanyahu retains ultimate decision-making power for security, foreign relations, national strategy, intelligence and Palestinians, along with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Yaalon opposes Israeli military action against Iran without US cooperation. But he and the cabinet offer short shrift for the Palestinians and sympathy for the pro-settlement lobby.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 15, 2013, 6:50 PM (GMT+02:00)
After weeks of tough haggling, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s third government was in the bag Friday, March 15, with deals signed with two political newcomers, Yair Lapid (centrist Yesh Atid – Future) and Naftali Bennett (pro-settlement Habayit Hayehudi – Jewish Home). At their insistence, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties were excluded for the first time in a decade and their traditional draft exemptions and welfare subsidies ended. Netanyahu’s Likud Beitenu holds seven portfolios including Defense which former chief of staff Moshe Yaalon takes over from Ehud Barak.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013, 1:40 PM (GMT+02:00)
The shakeup produced by Israel’s national elections has produced more than a new breed of political leaders and lawmakers. If the effect is sustained, it will break up traditional party frameworks and bring a new generation to power.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013, 12:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
One of the new arrivals to Israeli politics, Yair Lapid and his Future (Yesh Atid) party, have kicked off the bargaining for joining Binyamin Netanyahu’s next government armed with a substantial shopping list for jobs and other demands. debkafile: He wants the foreign ministry for himself, the right to veto the prime minister’s choice of defense minister in case it is Avigdor Lieberman, and three more portfolios. Naftali Bennett wants Religious Affairs. Both Lapid and Bennett put Netanyahu in a tough spot.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2013, 10:15 PM (GMT+02:00)
Binyamin Netanyahu may keep responsibility for defense in his next cabinet, naming Yair Shamir (of Israel Beitenu) minister in the defense ministry, debkafile discloses. This would end outgoing Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon’s expectation of defense in the post-election lineup. As an alternative, Ehud Barak would be retained as a non-political expert. After his stunning election showing, Yair Lapid is in line for Vice Prime Minister plus a key cabinet post, possibly foreign affairs. Naftali Bennett is in line for an economic portfolio.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 23, 2013, 8:56 AM (GMT+02:00)
Even after losing one-third of his party’s support in the Tuesday election, no figure aside from Binyamin Netanyahu can form Israel’s next government. But he cannot do this without a deal with Yair Lapid’s fledgling Future and concessions on key economic, budget, security and other policy changes. If they agree on guidelines, other parties will fall in line behind them. The newcomers lack background in government. But long experience didn’t prevent Netanyahu from making serious mistakes in the last year or two.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2013, 6:52 AM (GMT+02:00)
The bloc Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud formed with Israeli Beitenu polled a disappointing 31 seats (in the 120-member Knesset) in Tuesday, Jan. 22, general election, according to 99 percent count of ballots.. The big winner is a newcomer to Israeli politics, centrist ex-journalist Yair Lapid, with 19 seats, who managed to push Shelly Yacimovich’s veteran Labor party down to third place with only 15 seats. Bennett and Shas – 11 each. Left-of-center with Arab parties could garner a bloc of 60 if Lapid joined.