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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kadima coming apart at the seams?

Those of you who are long-time readers will recall that during the last elections, I told you that what distinguished Kadima Achora from other political parties in Israel is that it is a party without an ideology. Kadima attempted to be everything to everyone, but in reality it is nothing to no one - except for the elite economic interests it is meant to serve. The problem with this kind of arrangement is that one can have conflicts within the parties on basic goals and values. While this may be true in any political party in any country, in Israel, it was never so until Kadima was formed and no one really knows how it will shake out.

Case in point - Meet Zev Elkin.

Elkin is a Kadima MK who currently resides in the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zev which, yes, is over the green line. But Elkin resides in an area that the State of Israel - nominally including his own political party - intends to keep within its boundaries. But inlight of deputy Prime Minister sexual predator Haim Ramon's recent proposal to encourage revenants to leave Judea and Samaria by paying compensation to those who are beyond the 'security fence' who leave their homes voluntarily, Elkin has decided that his current residence really isn't making much of a statement. So Elkin is moving to Eldad.

Eldad is a small village that is in the part of the Etzion bloc that is outside the 'security fence' - near Tekoa and Nokdim (home of Avigdor Lieberman). Eldad is named for the father of National Union/National Religious Party HaTikva MK party leader and MK Aryeh Eldad, Israel Eldad. Israel Eldad was a leader in the Lehi movement. The village is a mix of religious and secular, veterans and new (mostly Russian) immigrants.

For those who think that Kadima would be happy to have one of its MK's live in the melting pot of Israeli society, where he could potentially draw some of that polyglot of voters into Kadima - you're wrong. They don't want anyone to take any principled stands that could destroy their 'balance' of being all things to all people:
Elkin said he had decided to move to Eldad from his current home in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood for ideological reasons. He said he was incensed by reports that Ramon had already received the support of some 70 MKs for a bill he hopes to pass in a preliminary reading by the end of the Knesset's winter session in March.

"Ramon is harming Kadima as a centrist party by shifting it to between Labor and Meretz," Elkin said. "If Ramon passes his bill, it will destroy Kadima and leave the party with Meretz's number of mandates."

Elkin said Ramon should have brought his bill to a serious debate in the Kadima faction before leaking it to the press.

"Ramon's proposal would lead to Israel giving up all of its assets before negotiations even begin," Elkin said. "Ramon should at least invest a fraction of the effort he is making to destroy the settlement enterprise in finding a solution to the problems of the Gush Katif evacuees and the residents of Sderot."

Ramon declined to respond to Elkin's criticism or his move. But coalition deputy chairman Yoel Hasson criticized both Elkin and Ramon.

"Both Ramon on the Left and Elkin on the Right do damage to Kadima," Hasson said. "Any step that hurts the balance of Right and Left in Kadima is bad for the party."
Can an Israeli political party - even one like Kadima - tolerate different ideologies without falling apart? Past experience would suggest that it cannot, but past experience doesn't include a party with as weak an ideological basis as Kadima has. The jury is still out.


At 12:26 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel may be post-Zionist and Kadima is its first post-Zionist party. It has managed to stave off arguments over divisive issues by postponing them. But at some point it will have to take sides and then it will begin to fall apart. It was Ariel Sharon's creation and none of his successors have his stature or clout to get things done.


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