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Why an Israeli Coalition Government Now?

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No one in the know says much about it, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forming a coalition government -- "a government of national unity," he calls it -- strikes some as ominous, others as encouraging.

Still, others see it as Israel preparing to do something about Iran and its fixation on developing nuclear weapons.

To the surprise of many, Israel's Kadima party joining Netanyahu's Likud coalition, hinged on Kadima leader, Shaul Mofaz, amending previous assurances that no way he'd agree to such a coalition -- "Not today, not tomorrow, not ever."

What makes the unity government interesting, apart from controlling 94 of the Knesset's 120 seats (the most single-minded, powerful government in Israel's history), may be Shaul Mofz himself.

As a former defence minister and chief of staff of Israeli Defence Forces, and now deputy prime minister, Mofaz seems likely to support whatever Netanyahu decides is necessary against Iran.

For the coming 18 months Israel will speak as one voice.

Times of Israel columnist (and founding editor) David Horovitz seems cynical about the coalition (and disgusted at Mofaz's flip-flop). He feels Iran isn't a factor in the coalition because "if Netanyahu believes the Jewish State faces imminent annihilation, he will act. Until then, he won't. Period."

Rather, Horovitz thinks the new coalition will be useful in supporting legislation that national service applies to all -- including Ultra-Orthodox Jews who have always been exempted from military service.

To outsiders, a couple of issues seem critical.

First there is Iran and its nuclear intentions (annihilate Israel if it can), and now two guys who run Israel probably agree that the time for soft words, compromise and backing down are fatal in dealing with those running Iran.

Dealing with Palestinians may be easier in the sense that it's not the armageddon that confrontation with Iran might be. The Palestinians leadership is open to deals, self-interest and seeks temporal power more so than entrance to Paradise.

Another aspect which is hard to see Israel give up is the West Bank. How can it be assured of security without the West Bank? And how did Israel get the West Bank? Well, it was attacked from Jordan and Syria, and it won the West Bank.

Had Israel not been attacked, it wouldn't today occupy the West Bank.

Both Netanyahu and Mofaz have military backgrounds, and neither is likely to compromise Israel's security.

Do not be surprised if this Israeli government of national unity feels forced to take action against Iran if Barack Obama ignores this nuclear povocation.

Netanyahu has made several visits to the U.S. to confer with Obama -- all of them disappointing to him and to Israelis. Israeli President Simon Peres's recent visit to Canada and the U.S. almost seems to be cementing relations in advance of taking decisive action about Iran.

Surely that has to figure in Netanyahu's coup of forming a coalition government -- something not needed in the recent dealings with Palestinians, or Israeli settlers on the West Bank, or rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli settlements, or intercepting flotillas of aid activists, or building a wall to protect Jerusalem from suicide bombers, etc.

Actions against Iran are different. Better to have the whole county in support of whatever decisions are made. And that's the way it seems right now.