Today in strange bedfellows, Tzipi Livni, who fought tooth and nail with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli premiership in 2009 and criticized him frequently ever since, has announced that she (and her six-seat Hatnua party) will be joining Bibi’s coalition and is the first party to do so.
In exchange for this bit of political fealty, Livni will be named a justice minister and will head up the coalition’s negotiation efforts with the Palestinians, which is sort of like being named head bartender of the Latter-Day Saints. Netanyahu addressed reporters today in an announcement that also seemed aimed at the other partners he is in hot pursuit of (emphasis mine):
“Livni and I,” Netanyahu said, “need to put aside disagreements in order to address the problems,” which he listed as the Iranian threat, the Palestinian issue, the high cost of living, and the need to institute a universal draft.
“We need a Palestinian partner; I hope we find a Palestinian partner for negotiations,” he said, and pledged to “form a team of ministers supervised by me for a peace agreement, with Livni at its helm.”
“We need to advance the peace process with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu continued. “We need to join forces and not seek differences. Livni will be a partner to an effort to achieve peace between two countries. We will do this together, based on the principles of the Bar-Ilan speech.”
Additionally, Livni’s lieutenants in Hatnua, former failed candidate for Prime Minister Amram Mitzna and Amir Peretz will receive posts in the government as chair of the Knesset House Committee and environmental protection minister respectively. This brings Bibi’s total between Likud-Beiteinu (31) and Hatnua (6) to 37 seats.
Who will fill the 24 remaining spots?
Livni to join coalition, ‘run talks with Palestinians’ [Times of Israel]
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.