When the rank and file of the Labor Party decided it was time to leave the coalition due to Netanyahu's right-wing policies, Netanyahu and Labor leader
Ehud Barak engineered a move in which Barak quit Labor and formed the Atzmaut Party. The rest of the Labor ministers were then forced to resign from their
government posts while Netanyahu kept Barak and his conspirators in the coalition. When arguments over the Tal Law and ultra-Orthodox and Arab exemptions
from the military draft became too heated, Netanyahu brought in Kadima to form a unity government and a coalition that would allow him to go in any
direction he wanted without fear of the government falling.
When Netanyahu decided to call early elections, he did it because the political timing seemed favorable for him rather than because he was forced to.
Despite his term being marked by no significant policy accomplishments or remarkable stances, Netanyahu has achieved a nearly unprecedented degree of
In contrast, the next Netanyahu government, which will almost certainly be the result of today's election, is not only going to be less stable on a daily
basis than the previous one, but will also be likely to fall well before Netanyahu's term is up and before he is ready to call another round of elections.
The new Israeli government is going to be facing enormous cross-cutting pressures from within its own ranks and from outside the country, and no matter how
hard he tries to construct a stable coalition, there will be nothing Netanyahu can do to mitigate this problem. Rather, the coalition choices that
Netanyahu makes are going to determine which set of pressures will ultimately bring him down. In essence, Netanyahu will be picking his poison rather than
coming up with a cure.
There are two factors that are going to contribute to detonating Netanyahu's coveted stability. The first is that unlike during the past three plus years,
Netanyahu is going to have a significant presence on his right flank both within his party and outside, creating constant pressure to take a harder line on
settlements and the peace process. The Likud primary in November created
the most right-wing version of the party
that has ever existed. For instance, among the returning Likud MKs in the new Knesset will be theinciters of May's anti-immigrant race riot, a mass of supporters for annexing the West Bank, and new MK Moshe Feiglin who
wants to be the Mohamed Morsi of anti-Arab remarks. This group
largely distrusts Netanyahu and will be waiting to pounce at even the slightest digression from their preferred policy of holding on to the West Bank
In addition, Netanyahu will be dealing with the newly empowered nationalist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) Party, which is poised to become the third
largest party in the Knesset. This party is led by Netanyahu's former chief of staff Naftali Bennett, who also advocates unilaterally annexing Area C of
the West Bank and recently got into trouble for saying that he would refuse orders to evacuate settlements. ( He recanted after the predictable
furor that arose.) Either as part of the coalition or as a constant thorn in Netanyahu's side, the large Habayit Hayehudi bloc will be pushing Netanyahu
constantly to the right.