Thursday, March 23, 2006
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 16 Comments
For all that the future of Israel is at stake in this election, it is a surprisingly quiet one. Prime Minister Olmert has refused to participate in television debates and as Kadima's Tzahi Hanegbi has said, they want a boring election. A quiet election serves the incumbents best.
With the takeover of the Labor Party by the Histadrut, the left wing Labor set has departed Labor and the Likud's own left and the careerists all joined together with Kadima. This leaves Kadima with the lion's share of the center-left vote. It has also meant that most of the contest for votes is happening on the right and instead of joining together to fight Kadima, much of the right-wing and religious parties are fighting the Likud and each other.
Mafdal\Ehud Leumi and Shas and Hazit and Herut are busy bashing the Likud and arguing why they deserve the votes. Aside from Shas, they have a point. They do represent a lot of the correct ideas that the Likud has increasingly abandoned about fighting terrorism and retaining Israeli sovereignity but the reality is if they cared about those things, they wouldn't be in the race.
It won't matter whether Hazit or Herut gain two or three Knesset seats, it won't matter how many the Ehud Leumi\Mafdal bloc will get since they will inevitably split up again; if Kadima forms the new government. All that these right wing factions will accomplish is to compete for the privilege to make brief passionate speeches on the Knesset floor before being voted down by a Kadima-Shas-UTJ-Arab or a Kadima-Shinui-Meretz-Labor coalition. None of this will matter if Olmert is able to remain in power and hand over the Yehuda and Shomron to Hamas and then divide up Yerushalayim.
Netanyahu failed on Hevron. His term was embattled and disastrous. He showed a lack of backbone and allowed Clinton to manipulate and use him. But sadly enough the Likud is the only party with a chance to defeat the Kadima hegemony. If Netanyahu wins, Israel and the Jewish people will have bought ourselves a little time. If Netanyahu loses and Olmert wins, we may be facing the dismantling and destruction of the State of Israel. Such considerations must override any ethnic loyalties, any votes for Haredi and religious parties like UTJ or Shas, which may be legitimate votes in peacetime when the main issue is funding schools and communities, but are completely untenable in such a crisis, especially when they have a history of joining the coalitions that approved Oslo and nearly the division of Yerushalayim and the Disengagement, all in the name of the Shekel.
They must even override the appeal to the purity of ideals represented by the right-wing parties because ultimately the purity of our ideals will not matter when the bulldozers are demolishing our homes and the batons are falling on the heads of our children. Kadima can be stopped at the ballot box but once it succeeds at the ballot box, there is little outside of a civil war that will. We have the choice of holding our noses and voting for Netanyahu or cutting our own throats.