Israeli coalition deal surprises media (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 9 May 2012 Last updated at 14:00 GMT)
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The surprise announcement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu was bringing the opposition Kadima party into his governing
coalition dominates the Israeli media on Tuesday.
The coalition deal, which saw Mr Netanyahu´s Likud party withdraw a
request for an early general election in September, also stirs
Israel´s lively social media scene and attracts sombre comment in the
Commentator Nahum Barnea in the big-selling, centrist newspaper,
Yediot Aharonot, warns of a danger to Israel´s democratic process.
"What was here? A convergence of interests between two politicians,
each one with his own trouble. Mr Mofaz has an abundance of Knesset
members but no voters. Mr Netanyahu has abundance of voters, but he
saw his party and his coalition gradually slipping away from his
hands. The damage to Israeli democracy is that from now the
government has no parliamentary opposition. Don´t cry for Mr
Netanyahu´s morality or Mr Mofaz´s credibility. Cry for Israeli
Shalom Yershali in Ma´ariv, another centrist daily, asks: "What is
this if not contempt for democracy? Mr Mofaz, who presented himself
yesterday as a consistent person, forgot his last zig-zag. On his
Facebook page he showed resolute opposition to such
government: ´Listen very well,´ Mofaz rebuked all the doubters, ´I
will not enter Bibi´s government, not today, not tomorrow and not
after I head Kadima´".
But the English-language Jerusalem Post disagrees, saying the deal to
set up "the broadest coalition government in Israeli history presents
a unique opportunity".
It says small parties have always taken advantage of the "extreme
proportional representation system" in Israel.
"The unprecedented size of the new government coalition and its
consequent stability provides a unique opportunity to institute much-
needed electoral reforms".
In an Israel Hayom commentary, "Netanyahu, King of Israel", news
editor Amir Mizrokh says Mr Netanyahu has immensely strengthened his
hand with "the deal of his life".
"By striking the kind of deal he struck with Shaul Mofaz of Kadima -
the deal of his life - the prime minister has put himself out of the
reach of his party´s right wing, out of the reach of Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman´s machinations, out of the reach of Shas´
extortions, and out of the reach of US President Barack Obama."
And commenting on the issue of illegal Jewish settlement outposts in
the West Bank, centre-left daily Ha´aretz says: "Netanyahu can and
must carry out the Supreme Court´s decisions, evacuate Migron and
Ulpana, and resume talks with the Palestinians with no evasions and
no superfluous preconditions."
Facebook breaks news
The Jerusalem Post also points out how the news broke on Facebook.
It says Likud Deputy Knesset Speaker Carmel Shama-Hacohen leaked
information about the deal on his Facebook page early on Tuesday.
"At 2 in the morning, suddenly the Likud Central Committee meeting is
starting to get interesting," he wrote.
Shama-Hacohen added that a "national unity coalition would make this
government´s term stable".
And the Post relates how Noy Aloosh, a musician with a large
following for political comment delivered via remixes of songs and
statements by politicians posted his latest "Shaul Mofaz Hit: He´s a
"The viral clip did not bode well for Israel´s newest cabinet member,
even though it received a lot of laughs," the daily says.
Another Facebook post satirised Mr Mofaz in a spoof advert for a
comfortable office chair.
"Unprecedented sale for members of the Kadima party: minister´s
chair. An orthopaedic chair made of elephant skin, particularly
suitable for the spineless."
Arab press sombre
Some Arabic-language titles see the Israeli coalition deal as a
possible curtain-raiser for a military strike against Iran.
A commentary in Al-Hayat al-Jadidah, owned by the Palestinian
Authority says: "The new Israeli government is a government of war on
two fronts. The first one is the front of enhancing the settlement
activity and aggression against the Arab Palestinian people in an
attempt to completely undermine the peace process. As for the second
front, it is the war on Iran. The way is clear now for the extreme
right-wing government to commit the greatest acts of aggression and
And in another Palestinian paper, Al-Ayyam, Hani Habib says: "The
formation of the national unity government sends a message to the
world that Israel can drag itself into a war with Iran. Nevertheless,
I think that this is a mere message and nothing more."
The London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi says "it is an alliance for
war and not an alliance for peace, as national unity governments in
Israel are usually formed to fight wars, regional wars in particular".
(© BBC MMXII 05/09/12)
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