Israel Election Stalemate… Who Will Be Prime Minister?
Graham Ledger: Page Six now, post Israeli election deadlock in Israel. No movement in the effort to form a coalition government as the prospect of a third election looming. Joining me now, the founder of the American Truth Project and Daily Ledger contributor, Barry Nussbaum. Barry, so Benjamin Netanyahu, let's back up to him first. Number one, obviously, he's in a fight for his political life right now, but he's also fighting for the future of Israel itself. Because let's face it, if you get a center-right party in there, a right-leaning party, then it means, for example, no way there's ever going to be the talk of a two-state solution because it would mean the death to Israel. On the other hand, if you get a center-left government in there, who knows?
Barry Nussbaum: Yeah. Israeli politics, as I often say, is like the UFC, but they're wearing suits at least most of the time. It is a tremendous amount of fighting and then, the coalition-building and then the people that hated you last week, now you start to have to make a deal with and unfortunately, as you just pointed out, Graham, that entails political compromise. You know, the Israelis get along after the elections and government much better than Americans do because they have to. And so they include the opposition. They make deals. They trade ministerial posts in exchange for support and so on. And right now, nobody knows who's going to come out on top when the appointment of the prime minister-designate takes place, probably in the next three or four days.
Graham Ledger: Ok, so in the Knesset, you have to have sixty-one seats to have the majority, Right? And so right now, nobody is close to the sixty-one majority. The opposition party to Benjamin Netanyahu, the number one opposition party, is Benny Gantz. His party, I think it's the blue and white party, but still, he's not able to cobble together the 61 seats. So are we headed toward a third round here? How do you see this thing being hammered out?
Barry Nussbaum: Unless people back down from the speeches they made in the last couple of days that you quoted in your opening Graham, the answer is the third election, Yes! Somebody is going to have to be invited into the coalition to get one group to sixty-one or more seats in the Knesset and, therefore, the ability to name their leader as prime minister. If the Arab groups come in, which they never have in Israeli history since 1948, then and only then would the blue and white party be able to get over sixty-one. The odds are strongly against it, Graham. The Arabs are literally, and I mean this word for word, not Zionists, meaning they want to be in the government, but they don't want a Jewish state. So inherently and philosophically, they're opposed to serving in a government for a country that they are opposed to. Therefore, the only way this is going to work is if Bibi's suggestion of a couple of days ago works, meaning he comes into the government, Benny Gantz is in the government, and Lieberman is in the government, who right now is in fourth place and the religious parties might be left out, but they won't be needed. The problem is who in a unity government gets to be prime minister? Blue-and-White said to Bibi, Absolutely no way. Bibi said to blue and white; I want to be prime minister at least half the time on rotation. And right now, it's a standoff. So unless one side gives in and I mean this literally if one side doesn't give in, you and I and the rest of the world are going to see world history for at least Israel's point of view, a third election in a year. And that would be catastrophic for stability in Israel.
Graham Ledger: Well, we know who the guy in the White House is rooting to come out on top of this thing. Well, we'll find out, I guess, relatively soon. Barry, Thank you.