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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Israelis aren't taking to the streets

Atlas asks an interesting question this morning: When will Israelis take to the streets?
I do not understand, for the life of me, the lack of will in the Israeli people. I can not understand why they are not taking to the streets and storming the Knesset. How have they not overthrown that political hack Olmert and his motley crew? They are selling Israel down the river. Iran is a hair's breath away from going nuclear and these dangerous schmucks are circle jerking to a "peace" process. Iran has been plotting Israel's demise for decades. And Abu Dana has UNIFIL guranteeing Israel's security? How many Jews have to die?
Israelis' lack of will comes from a number of factors:

1. We are not convinced anyone else will be any better.

2. Given the political system here, it may not be possible to bring down the government. Since we vote for parties and not for individuals, no individual will be held accountable for keeping this government in power, and therefore no individual in a position to bring down the government is likely to take the lead to bring it down.

3. We are divided among ourselves. With Avigdor Lieberman's sellout, and Labor's being purchased on the cheap, and Olmert trying to bring United Torah Judaism into the government, we have a wall-to-wall coalition that stands for nothing but includes everyone - except the Likud and National Union-NRP. The former is led by Netanyahu, whom no one really trusts anymore (he blew it when he signed the Why, Why Wye Agreement), and the latter has no leadership that is capable of running the country, nor does it have a large enough power base. Don't forget - Olmert was elected seven months ago.

4. You can't just throw the bums out here. You make the government fall by a no confidence motion in which 61 MK's vote for someone else to be Prime Minister, or you propose a bill to hold new elections. Getting 61 MK's to agree on the time of day here is difficult. And if your bill for new elections fails, you cannot raise the question again for six months. So you aren't going to present it unless you think it can win. And it has to win three readings if it isn't buried in a committee.

5. Demonstrating against the government here is a risky business. Here's an example of where civil disobedience can leave you. Most Israelis don't want to risk six months in administrative detention (sitting at home or in jail for six months without trial) to lead anti-government demonstrations.

The current predicament is the culmination of a lot of rot that has been present in Israeli politics for decades. We briefly had direct election of the Prime Minister (which would be a step forward) but it was killed because the big parties were losing Knesset seats.

It will take at least another year to get the government out. And if Olmert is forced to resign because of the corruption charges against him, the same government under Tzippi Livni would last longer than he will. She has somehow escaped the taint of last summer's failure. I believe that I am one of the few people - even in the blogosphere - who refers to the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government. Most people blame Olmert and Peretz, or Olmert, Peretz and Halutz.

Much of this is difficult to explain in a (relatively) short blog post. Most of the world - especially the Jewish world - has no clue how rotten and corrupt the Israeli government really is, how corrupt Israeli politics is, and how depressed its people are as a result. A few weeks ago, I raised some questions about the Rabin assassination on this blog. Next week is the anniversary of the assassination and you will hear much about Rabin's legacy. But the questions about the assassination were too much even for most of my readers to handle. They were ignored. And that's exactly what our corrupt politicians want.


At 5:53 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I would have thought that after the disaster this summer people would have had enough. But the fact that Olmert is able not only to stay in power, but to expand his government, while people remain silent, proves otherwise.

I'm becoming very pessimistic about the country's future. But writing this blog takes so much time out of making a living that I really cannot allow myself to do much else. Demonstrations? Aside from the fact that you risk getting your head bashed in (and I'm getting kind of old for that0, I don't have the time for them.

At 5:17 AM, Blogger Yoel.Ben-Avraham said...

I'm not certain when the collective of the Israeli public will finally reach a point where they have everything to gain and nothing to lose ... but there are a couple of prerequisites.

First the Israeli public has to learn more about true/real democractic process, not just the illusion of democracy peddled here as being sacrosanct.

Next there must be recognized leaders who are willing to stand up despite the threat of incarceration and state initiated witch hunts.

Finally, I hope it will be bloodless, but it will not be painless. Just one example: all the black suited stormtroopers who are above the law and employ brutual violence in order to enforce government policies never arrived at either through concensus nor referendum must at the very least be unemployable in a Jewish state.

To arrive at this point where the people take the initiative in changing the form of government reqires a lot more than simply inept corrupt politicans.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, your blog is very good and you provide us lots of information that is very hard to get otherwise but consider, perhaps, limiting the amount of time you spend on it, perhaps take a day or two a week that you don't touch it. This will help you not get burnt-out and may also reflect positively on your parnassa.
Take care,

At 10:50 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

If the people of Israel do not believe in Israel neither they nor Israel will survive.

I don't have much truck (I'm not fond of) the ultra religious. However, the rest of Israel could learn something from them.

If the seculars can't believe in the Maker at least they could believe in Israel.


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