Friday, February 20, 2009

Bibi is Back

Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been asked by Israeli President Shimon Peres to form a government.

Although Likud won one less seat than Tzipi Livni's Kadima last week the smaller parties in the Knesset such as Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu have indicated they would be more comfortable with Netanyahu back at the helm. However, Netanyahu on the advice of Peres will attempt to form a national unity government with Livni as well as Labor led by Ehud Barak.

For her part, Livni has said her party will not partake in any government that does not move the peace process forward. Bibi runs the risk of alienating his political allies if he appears to be caving into Livni. I suspect that Livni will not join the government and Netanyahu will form a government with Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas possibly Labor and other smaller parties. This will not make him popular with Obama but Israel's survival isn't a popularity contest.

Whatever the case it is a remarkable comeback for Netanyahu who has spent much of the past decade in the political wilderness as I wrote in my IC column following the election. (

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