Bintel Blog

Sound Bite Comes Back To Haunt Israel's New Gov't

By Nathan Jeffay

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Three questions created by the installation of the new government:

1). Just how hawkish will it be?

Everyone has had their crack at answering this question, but the most notable attempt must be that of the London-based Guardian. It got so carried away that it ended up printing this correction in today’s paper: “In an article headed Netanyahu ready to take charge as wrangling ends, 31 March, page 19, we said that Avigdor Lieberman and Binyamin Netanyahu were reported to have struck a deal last week to build 3,000 new settlements around East Jerusalem. In fact, the alleged deal involves 3,000 new housing units.”

2). Can you trust what Netanyahu has to say?

How the public loves it when a politician’s words come back to bite him, and that is just the spectacle we are seeing at the moment. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done exactly what he has been dead against in the past, namely constructing an enormous government.

After giving cabinet posts to everyone he promised during coalition agreements there are 30 ministers, eight deputies, and new furniture in the cabinet room to accommodate everyone. In fact, it is the biggest government in Israeli history.

When Olmert built a 25-member cabinet Netanyahu described it as wasteful to an unprecedented degree.

He went on to strongly support a bill to cap the government at 18 ministers.

One of the instigators of this move was Likud lawmaker Gideon Saar who is now education minister. At the time, Saar said, “The cost of appointing so many ministers constitutes a waste of public funds at the expense of essential needs.”

3). Mission (allegedly) accomplished, will one of the nation’s favorite newspapers fold?

This most unusual question is being discussed in media circles.

Yisrael Hayom (translation: “Israel Today”), founded in 2007 by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has always promoted a right-wing agenda. It has been rumored that he only started the paper to get his friend Netanyahu in to office — a claim given exposure last year in a New Yorker profile of Adelson.

So what now? If it has achieved its aim, will it fold? In interviews this week, Adelson said no.

Even if it does close, its journalists shouldn’t be too worried. After all they did to swing the election, and given the new ethos on cabinet building, they could probably find jobs in Netanyahu’s new cabinet.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yisrael Hayom, Sheldon Adelson, Gideon Saar, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu

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