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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Please not Peres!

The poster pictured above appeared in my neighborhood last week.

There's a presidential election in the Knesset next Wednesday and there are three candidates: Labor MK and former New York consular officer Colette Avital, Likud MK and former Knesset speaker Ruby Rivlin and Labor Kadima Achora MK and Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Most people here believe that it will come down to a third ballot with the lowest polling candidate being dropped, and that the third ballot will be between Rivlin and Peres. As you all know already, Peres has never won a national election (neither have the others, but they have never run in one).

Presidential elections here are unusual because they are done by secret ballot in the Knesset. In the 2000 Presidential election, Peres lost to Moshe Katzav because a lot of MK's who promised to support him did not do so. The fact that the ballot is secret also means that there is no coalition discipline - no one knows for sure who voted for whom. Peres tried to get the ballot opened because he felt he would have a better chance to win with an open ballot, but that effort failed.

You may recall that in the article linked above, MK Marina Solodkin said that much of Kadima Achora may switch their loyalties from Peres to Colette Avital on the second ballot. In an interview on Israel Radio at the end of last week, Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz implied that the Labor party would not vote for anyone who deserted the party on any ballot. That would mean that Labor MK's will not vote for Peres even if it's Peres against Rivlin. On the other hand, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is leaning towards ordering Shas' MK's to vote for Peres. According to Israel Radio, Rabbi Yosef has found a way of assuring that his MK's vote the way he wants them to: He wants them to take an oath.

Rabbi Yosef's support for Peres has raised some eyebrows and more in the religious community - and not just in Shas' (ultra-Orthodox Sephardi) corner of it:
A group calling itself The Committee for Jewish Holiness has disseminated a poster in hareidi-religious neighborhoods, reminding MKs of anti-Jewish statements made by Peres and calling on them not to vote for him. [This is apparently not the same poster I photographed last week. I have not seen this poster yet. By the way, every ultra-Orthodox neighborhood has one or more "Committees for Jewish Holiness" and no one knows who is a member of them. CiJ]

The poster reads:
Don't lend your hand to him who would assimilate the Nation of Israel!

Dear Knesset Member,

When you stand behind the curtain to vote for the president, remember the words of blasphemy that Shimon Peres has said. A sampling of quotes from his words:
  • "What King David did was not Jewish." (Yediot Acharonot, Feb. 15, 1994)
  • "Partitions between the Jewish Nation and the goyim must be eradicated." (UNESCO conference 1994)
  • "There is nothing to be proud of in Jewish history." (UNESCO conference 1990)
  • "Jewish youth must divorce our past." (UNESCO conference 1999)
  • "The rabbis are deceivers." (Yediot Acharonot, April 15, 1990)
This Wednesday, you must proudly fulfill what it says in the Torah reading (Korach) of this week: 'Take leave of the tents of these evil people... lest you be destroyed as a result of their sins.'

Another famous Peres quote, not cited in the poster, is this from 1996, the day after he lost the national election to Binyamin Netanyahu:
Interviewer: What happened in these elections?
Peres: We lost.
Interviewer: Who is we?
Peres: We, that is the Israelis.
Interviewer: And who won?
Peres: All those who do not have an Israeli mentality.
Interviewer: And who are they?
Peres: Call it the Jews.

Peres also told the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 1993, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, "As a Jew, may I say that the essence of our history since the times of Abraham and the commandments of Moses have been an uncompromising opposition to any form of occupation, of domination, of discrimination."

There are also voices in opposition to Peres from several other corners. These include parents of soldiers who were killed in this past summer's war in Lebanon, Johnathan Pollard, and the parents of Zecharia Baumol, who say that "Shimon Peres was never among those who tried to bring back the MIAs. He is therefore not worthy of representing the nation. In a few days it will be 25 years since they have been missing, and Peres did not do a thing." Baumol has been missing in action since the Battle of Sultan Yaqub during the first Lebanon War in 1982.

Next Wednesday afternoon should be interesting. Stay tuned.


At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good and informative Blog. I love Israel and had the pleasure of visiting there in 1992. It was amazing. My friend who lives in Qiryat Shemona gave me a un-hindered tour from the north to the south. We went straight from the Sea of Galilee to the bottom of the Dead Sea. We could never had the freedom to drive around like that now. Its sad. A real dark time lies ahead for you but the Almighty will be with you to lift you up above it all. You have returned to the Land of Jacob now return to the God of Israel.


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