Benjamin Netanyahu Just Lost a Key Procedural Vote. Can He Still Hold on to the Premiership?

While the incumbent Israeli prime minister, whose Likud party won a plurality of votes in the recent election, has two weeks to form a governing coalition, it seems that he cannot do so unless he is able to coax individual parliamentarians away from their parties. Meanwhile the Likud lost a Knesset vote on Monday for control of the “arrangements committee.” Haviv Rettig Gur explains:

The panel is a short-lived entity established by each new Knesset to manage the parliament’s agenda and conduct much of its business between the new Knesset’s swearing-in and the official formation of a ruling coalition a few weeks later.

The committee is immensely powerful for the duration of its brief lifespan. It is responsible for establishing the new Knesset’s committees, appointing their chairs and members for the interim period, and coordinating the legislative agenda between the parliamentary factions and with the as-yet interim government.

With control of the arrangements committee, Netanyahu might have had a chance at calling for a direct election of the prime minister, which could in theory end the political deadlock. But it was not to be, and the reason why is significant:

[Netanyahu’s challenger from the right, Naftali] Bennett, voted with Likud on the arrangements-committee question, after Likud promised to give him one of its own seats on the panel. . . . But Netanyahu neglected the Islamist party Ra’am, apparently feeling that its leader Mansour Abbas was in his pocket. And Abbas did not like being ignored. The opposition leader, Yair Lapid, made Abbas a better offer, and Ra’am’s vote with the center-left proved decisive, handing the right its first clear defeat in the new Knesset.

On Monday, even as Netanyahu discovered just how troubled his political prospects had become, Yair Lapid and his allies in the so-called “change camp” continued their efforts to block him at every turn, with the [Lapid] meeting the leaders of various factions, including publicly announced and photographed talks with the once-taboo Arab MKs in the Joint Arab List and Ra’am.

Of course, even with support from the Arab parties, there is no guarantee that Lapid will have the necessary seats for a coalition either.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2021, Israeli politics, Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7