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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is Israel better off with a left-wing government?

There's a report on an interesting study on Arutz Sheva's web site this morning:
Professors Gidon Doron of Tel Aviv University and Maoz Rosenthal from Open University plan to release a study in the upcoming days showing that left-wing governments are less likely to destroy Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria than are right-wing governments. In a short summary of their research released over the weekend, the two argue that governments led by the Labor party have traditionally been too weak to destroy Jewish towns, even those the government considers illegal.

In contrast, they say, governments led by the Likud have the power to withdraw from territories and destroy Jewish towns. Parties further to the political right, such as Kach and Moledet, have only had a major political impact twice, they argued. Right-wing parties brought down governments in 1992 and 1999, they said.
I'm not sure why Kach is mentioned in the study, since Kach (the party of Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D) has been banned from running for the Knesset since 1988. But in both 1992 and 1999, the 'far right' parties brought down 'right wing' governments (headed by Yitzchak Shamir and Bibi Netanyahu, respectively) because they were not seen as being ideologically pure enough. The result in 1992 was the Rabin-Peres government and Oslo. The result in 1999 was Ehud Barak, the flight from Lebanon, Camp David and hundreds of Israelis murdered by 'Palestinian' terrorists from 2000-04 (Barak himself was thrown out in 2001, but that Knesset remained in power until 2003 due to a quirk in the election law at that time).

The study is a bit deceiving. The truth is that even the Likud has not generally acted as a true right wing party. As I have noted previously on several occasions, many on the right have justified misgivings about the Likud and its current leader Binyamin Netanyahu. If the Likud were to regain power and act as a true right wing government, that would be better for the revenants than any left-led government. But the study is correct in the sense that when the 'right' seeks to destroy Jewish cities and towns, there is no meaningful opposition. For example, Ariel Sharon was still leading the Likud when he destroyed the Jewish cities and towns in Gaza and expelled all their Jewish inhabitants.

There's a lesson to be learned here for those who think that electing a Likud-led government is the answer to all of our problems. It's not. If it can be kept in line with a right-wing agenda, then a Likud government can be good for all of us. But if a Likud-led government is going to destroy Jewish cities and towns and make more 'gestures' to the 'Palestinians,' there will be no one to stop it.


At 9:50 AM, Blogger Yaakov said...

Carl Question: what caused the Netanyahu led Likud to vere from their right wing platform when they were in power?

At 10:08 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's a good question.

The Likud legitimized Oslo, then the Roadmap and then the Disengagement, completed in the destruction of the Gush Katif communities when they were in power.

The Right in Israel has never had a strong Zionist nationalist ideology and has always been checked by a confluence of the leftist courts, bureaucracy and foreign opinion. It has never had freedom to chart its own course in Israel.

There's no reason to believe the situation will be appreciably different under a future Likud-led government.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


The Likud got caught up in the notion that the only way to be elected in this country is to promise to make 'peace.' In the aftermath of the Oslo War, the Likud had an opportunity to disabuse the public of that notion. But they chose not to do so and instead - under Ariel Sharon - to continue to pretend that we could impose 'peace' and coexistence on our neighbors.

NormanF is correct that the court has consistently prevented the right from installing its ideology. But there's much more to it than that.

Most Israelis have no idea why they are here and cannot accept that there is no hope of us ever being a 'normal' country. When I was in the US a couple of weeks ago, I went to hear someone speak whom I generally regard as being pretty realistic. I told him I was an Israeli visiting and asked him whether he thought we could ever be a 'normal' country. He said he thought we would be eventually. Afterwards, I went up to him and said that I didn't think we could ever be a 'normal' country. He told me that if he believed that, he would have to seriously reconsider whether he should continue to live in Israel.

So in a sense the Likud has to pander to the idea of making 'peace' with the Arabs in order to make itself electable.

For all of my criticisms of Bibi, other than the Wye Agreement (which Clinton tricked him into and forced him to accept), he really did not give the 'Palestinians' anything in his three years in office. And there was much less terror from 1996-99 (his time in office) than at any other time since 1993. But he continued to pander to the idea of making 'peace' and so the ideologically more pure right got scared he would really give something and they would be left with no way of stopping him (which is what eventually happened with Sharon). In retrospect, I believe that the right was wrong to bring down the government in both 1992 and 1999.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - I think you read it correctly. Much of the Israeli support for Kadima is less due to its support for the peace process and uprooting thousands Jews from Judea and Samaria as for its notion - advanced by Ehud Olmert during the last election - that Israel would be a fun country in which to live.

After six decades of being besieged by th Arabs, most Israel want to be "normal" and win at least a breathing space and acceptance by the rest of the world. Of course, that's something they will never get since Jewish history is not "normal."

My point is if the Jews wanted to be like every one else, they would have disappeared a long time ago. And there's a contradiction between being a Jewish State and a normal country. The Israeli Left would resolve the contradiction by doing away with Israel's Jewishness altogether.

For other Israelis, there's no obvious answer to that contradiction. When Israelis realize that can't be like every other country in the world, will it then be possible to have relations with the Arabs and the outside world on the basis of the fact Israel was meant as stated in the Torah, to be a nation apart from the nations.

Sooner or later, that's the only way Israel's Jewishness can be reconciled with acceptance of the fact the country can never quite be like any other nation. I think that's the sole reason G-d has given the Jewish people the most extreme and implacable of enemies - to keep them Jewish.


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