Prioritizing candidates for coalition-building negotiations will give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the chance to end the negotiating process quickly. And, given that within his own party the prime minister is not going to have to have it easy when the time comes to divvy up ministerial portfolios, the faster he determines the framework for these negotiations, the faster negotiations will advance — whether it is Habayit Hayehudi or Shas which comes on board.
Sources close to Netanyahu have confirmed that the crisis between Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett and the prime minister's family tarnished relations between the two. Netanyahu has vowed, however, to conduct negotiations in a businesslike fashion. But, if this is so, why did the issue with Bennett ever see the light of day?
Shas is rushing full-speed towards the government. This is clear not only because party leader Aryeh Deri called on Netanyahu during the election to reach a coalition agreement as quickly as possible, but also in the way the party is behaving now. How would Shas react if Likud, Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi agree to legislation that would mandate drafting haredim into the military, regardless of the timetable for implementing the law? Shas understands how old politics work: applying brakes to the legislative process through foot-dragging and deferrals.
Trying to use what power it has, Shas has stipulated that it will not join a government that backs legislation the party cannot stand behind. This sounds like a whimper, especially given the moderate tone of Likud’s, Yesh Atid’s and Habayit Hayehudi's initiatives.
Netanyahu understands that Shas grants his government stability should the diplomatic process resume. He also knows that were Bennett to enjoy outstanding achievements based on the outcome of coalition-building, this would have a deep impact on adjusting the law for enlisting haredim, and could cause profound economic developments. Bennett has useful tools for steering the war against centralization and bank profits. It would be worth it for Netanyahu to exploit that.
And as for policy? Habayit Hayehudi will oppose any initiative to remove Jewish homes from Judea and Samaria, but would not leave the government as long as the formation of a Palestinian state does not come to fruition.
It's important to note who will become the government's primary envoy, and who will simply be filling space. Shas and Habayit Hayehudi generally assume that Lapid holds the key. The two are welcoming Lapid, rather than scrutinizing him — at least for now.
The media has, until now, been flooded with tall tales and delusional theories, threats and spin. The last example was the prediction that Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz would serve as defense minister, and not Likud's Moshe Ya'alon. Within the media, there are innocents and those harboring ill will. Both are robbing us of time and energy. Lapid has taught one valuable lesson to the old politics: He stood outside his home and, with a sharp tongue, said no to hypotheticals and shot down any chances of forming an anti-Netanyahu bloc.
This should be the fate of all spin, like Ya'alon and Mofaz's battle for the Defense Ministry. Wipe them from the headlines soon.
Especially given that this latest "spin" is certainly not the last.