Mar 8, 2009

With Iran Threat Rising, Netanyahu Finalizes His Cabinet

By Joel C. Rosenberg

With Iran feverishly pursuing nuclear weapons and the White House consumed with the U.S. and global economic crisis and thus far both unable and unwilling to stop Iran, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu appears set to finalize his coalition government and announce his cabinet ministers, perhaps as early as this week.

Netanyahu certainly has his work cut out for him. He is the one national leader on the planet even considering taking military action against Iran to stop the apocalyptic, genocidal plans of the ayatollahs. But to do so he needs a strong, stable, unified governing coalition. That doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.

After several weeks of coalition-building negotiations, Netanyahu is facing extraordinary pressure and a razor-thin margin. Talks with Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, currently Israel’s Defense Minister, broke down this weekend. Barak has apparently rejected Netanyahu’s offer for the Labor to join the government.

Press reports suggested in recent days that Barak himself wanted to join, but that intense pressure against such a move has been building among fellow Labor leaders. The Jerusalem Post reported Saturday night that Netanyahu is now set to announce a government with only 61 members, the bare minimum required in a 120 seat parliament. If true, this will give even members of small minority parties within the coalition tremendous leverage against the Prime Minister. After all, the defection of just one MK during any controversial government decision could bring down the government.

Further complicating Netanyahu’s life is that Avigdor Lieberman – head of the Israel Beiteinu party and rumored to be the next Foreign Minister — is under investigation for corruption and could be indicted soon. The pressures facing Netanyahu are extraordinary, and time for him to make a decision regarding Iran appears to be running out. Let’s be praying, therefore, for the Lord to give him great wisdom, and a team around him of wise, experienced and courageous advisors and counselors as well.

One guy to keep an eye on: Knesset Member Gideon Sa’ar, the #2 official in the Likud Party and Netanyahu’s most trusted advisor. Word has it he is likely to be named Education Minister. Knesset insiders believe he is also steadily emerging as a possible future Prime Minister.

Related Links

Israel believes Iran can build nuclear weapons - AP
Israel's Barak rejects joining Netanyahu cabinet - ABS-CBN
Barak aides: If Justice Min. stays on, Labor will join opposition - Haaretz