The shocking establishment of a national unity government in a deal between Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sparked countless interpretations. The moment the deal was announced, the media began doing cost-benefit analyses of the new partnership and reassessing the country's political reality.
The media was caught off guard and ill prepared. This enormous drama was unfolding directly under their noses and they didn't have a clue. In this country, where nuclear secrets are leaked in coffee shops and restaurants, this political maneuver was, remarkably, kept under wraps. Diligent journalists, whose proximity politicians normally seek, had no choice but to report after the fact, giving rise to more sentimental media reports than objective analyses.
Rivers of fury have been pouring down now that Mofaz has rained on the media's democracy parade. Had there been early elections, which the new coalition deal has obviated, many former media stars would have been running for the Knesset in four months. Suddenly, old footage of certain politicians saying certain things is leading the newscasts, proving that wise people should be cautious of their words.
Mofaz needn't be concerned. Regardless of the unity deal, the media will never forgive him anyway for defeating their darling Tzipi Livni in the Kadima primary last month. But one more satirical Mofaz impression on prime-time television and that dust will settle too.
The ones who stand to gain the most from this national unity government are Israel and the Likud. The country benefits because it wasn't clear why early elections were necessary in the first place. The months leading up to an election are days of enormous financial waste, mudslinging and economic and security paralysis. A broad unity government has the power to legislate reforms in important areas of our lives. In one year of unity, we can change the face of Israeli society, reorganize the system of government and bring about radical changes in its conduct.
The Likud benefits because it was spared a harsh electoral blow. Anyone who attended this week's launch of the Likud convention witnessed a small, fringe group on the verge of achieving a hostile takeover and dominating the Likud Knesset list. This is a group that, in recent years, has enlisted professional vote recruiters who have in turn registered many new Likud members (many of whom don't even vote for Likud in the elections). This growing group is terrorizing many MKs, who need their support in internal party elections. Under the guise of democracy, values and the idea of a greater Israel, this group planned to turn the Likud party into a radical right-wing party of the National Union variety.
Theodore Herzl, Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin were Zionists in their very essence. Their Zionism was a realistic Zionism. They understood that a great vision could only be realized through an accurate reading of reality. Unfortunately, a neo-messianic group has formed within the Likud that perpetuates the path of misguided political leaders between the two world wars who refused to accept the guidelines dictated by reality. God does not serve the believers, the believers are obligated to serve God.
If elections had been held this coming September, there is no doubt that the Likud party would have alienated some of its most dedicated voters. The Land of Israel, in its entirety, must be rebuilt rapidly and with determination. Israeli society must become stronger and restore its solidarity. This is an existential necessity. The security of Israel is a top priority that can be achieved under a national unity government.