The "Blackmail" Government that Wasn't
by Rabbi Yitzchok Roth
Since the very establishment of the State, many parties have served as balance and counterbalance. These were usually small parties representing a very specific voting public but seeking to justify their power in the Knesset. They sought budgets for this and that legislation which would somewhat improve their constituents' conditions, and other coalitionary requests.
None of these parties even dreamed of demanding the most significant position in the government - the role of prime minister. It was clear that this was the prerogative of the head of the largest party which had received the most votes. Naftali Bennett, head of the small Yeminah party, is the biggest extortionist in the history of the State. Barefacedly, from a niche party which received a bare 5% of votes, he is demanding the top position. He demanded - and received it.
In the past, such a demand would have resulted in offensive headlines, since there is no bigger extortion than that but in this era of Netanyahu-bashing, this word was deleted from their lexicon.
But wait, we haven't yet discussed the 50 billion shekel which have been promised to Mansour Abbas so that he support the government. 50 billion shekel is more than the budget of forty years of budgetary support to the entire yeshiva world. But no one has dubbed Abbas an extortionist, perhaps the biggest one ever! This word has been squirreled away in the attic.
Nor have we yet mentioned that Bennett demanded to rule over the national treasury, both from his role as prime minister as well as in the Knesset so as to nullify any control over budgets. This is not blackmail, since Netanyahu is wheeling the chareidim in a wheelbarrow. He is a political partner with legitimate demands. The present government has renewed the concept of coercion and brought it to a peak that defies similar actions in any future government.