Benjamin Netanyahu has a problem. After much fanfare and congratulations last Thursday from his right-wing allies over his successful breakup of Likud’s greatest political threat in over a decade — the 33-seat Blue and White faction led by Benny Gantz — the prime minister has spent the past five days coming to terms with the cost of that success.
The coalition talks between Netanyahu and Gantz are entering their sticky middle phase. Grand pronouncements and posturing have been replaced by the dry, complex bartering and persistent but unreliable leaks that signal they are at their most serious stage. It is here, in the hammering out of the most minute details of the next coalition’s decision-making process and ministry distribution, that the heart and soul of the next government, its fundamental workings and, ultimately, real center of power, will be determined.