1. In parallel with his efforts to form a unity government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing the ground for a direct election for prime minister, and also for linking up with Gideon Sa'ar and Naftali Bennett. Last night, Netanyahu received approval from his Likud party's Constitution Committee to reserve places on the Likud's candidate list if there is another general election.
"In order to facilitate the formation of a government of the right in the 24th Knesset, the Constitution Committee authorizes the party chairman to put forward a proposal in principle for the submission of a joint list of candidates in an election for the 25th Knesset. The list will be submitted for approval by the Likud Secretariat," the committee's decision states.
Netanyahu thus leaves the door open for Yamina leader Naftali Bennet and New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar to join Likud if the anti-Netanyahu "change block" fails to form a government.
Netanyahu prefers a direct election for prime minister if he cannot form a government and is working to leave this possibility open alongside the weak possibility of forming a government in the current state of affairs.
2. The Knesset Arrangements Committee is due to convene this morning. After committee chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) refused last week to bring to a vote the change block's proposal for the appointment of three deputy Knesset speakers from within the block and one only from Likud, this proposal will be brought to a vote today.
Likud will retain Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin's right of veto on the raising of matters for discussion in the Knesset presidium, but if the change block succeeds in agreeing on another speaker, Likud will lose control of the Knesset entirely.
3. Opinion surveys by the political parties show that Bennett's voters are torn between support for a right-wing government under Netanyahu and support for a government that includes left-wing parties, headed by Bennett.
According to a survey carried out last week, only 14% of Yamina voters support Bennett's decision to start working at this stage on the formation of a government with the left, versus 46.8% who support this option only if Bennett fails in the efforts to form a government with Likud. According to the survey, half of Bennett's supporters who oppose the tactics he has adopted have switched their support back to Likud.
4. If the votes in the Knesset Arrangements Committee take place as scheduled, Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) will be back as chairperson of the Knesset Finance Committee, while for the first time a woman will chair the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee - Orna Barbivay, of Yesh Atid.
5. Reports circulated yesterday evening on proposals for rotation of the premiership proposals that have already been made or that are being concocted: to Benny Gantz, to Aryeh Deri, and to Naftali Bennett, all of course from Benjamin Netanyahu, unfortunately for whom all his political rivals have already learnt from experience with him - Gantz, who went through the undermining of his rotation agreement with Netanyahu after the last election through the latter thwarting the passage of a state budget, and of course Bennett. Netanyahu's preference is thought to be for Deri.
Another idea being examined by Likud is the appointment of Yariv Levin as prime minister while Netanyahu moves aside. So far it appears that all these proposals are trial balloons more than plans of action. It remains only to follow events in the last nine days of Netanyahu's mandate to form a government - who else will receive a tempting proposition for being prime minister, at least on paper?
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 26, 2021
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