Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's third government resembles that luxury car you buy only to realize that one of the dashboard warning lights is constantly flashing.
Netanyahu must have had a hard time saying goodbye to his old colleagues on Monday, as the new government was sworn in. In the former coalition there was virtually no one who could restrict Netanyahu's movements, allowing him to pursue his varied agenda, including key policy decisions. He could appoint as many ministers as he wanted; no coalition member ever entertained the notion of succeeding him; he could cause opposition factions to splinter and join his government without worrying over this or that coalition party vetoing his moves.
To understand just how different this coalition is, it would suffice to look at the coalition agreement signed between Yesh Atid and Likud-Beytenu. The agreement stipulates that Netanyahu must get Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid's written consent before he brings a new faction into the coalition. This is a whole new ball game.
After so much chatter and flowery speeches on hope and the potential for change, who knows, maybe the future has some good things in store, too. Politics are governed by their own set of fascinating rules. Foes turn into friends; doves turn into hawks, and so forth.
The stewards of the economy and those who set policy on socio-economic and defense matters now must switch gears; they must put the grueling campaign and ensuing coalition talks behind them and work in harmony, despite all the strains of the past several months. It is true that the combination of Netanyahu, Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Hatnuah leader Tzipi Livni is not what I would call a team full of potential; but the onus is now on them, they have to prove themselves. And they might even turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
The overall responsibility obviously rests with the prime minister. If his coalition partners feel he is restricting their movements, they might get drawn to each other and clip his wings.
The first order of business is to build mutual trust among all members. Failing to do so would make this government go down as a flash in the pan, an amateur project. It would implode. On the other hand, cooperation may make Netanyahu serve out his third term and break David Ben-Gurion's record as the longest serving Israeli premier.