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Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to 1992?

On election day in 1992, Mrs. Carl's sister came to visit us to commiserate about voting. Mrs. Carl and I could not vote (we had a status called "Temporary Residents" that did not allow us to vote - that's how aliya was done in the 90's) and therefore did not have any of her internal struggles.

Mrs. Carl's sister was debating voting for either the Tchiya party of Geula Cohen (Tzachi HaNegbi's mother but a true right-wing politician - pictured at top left) or a new party founded by Rabbi Moshe Levinger of Kiryat Arba (pictured below). She really wanted to vote for Rabbi Levinger's party, but was afraid that it would not pass the "achuz ha'chasima" - the minimum number of votes a party needs to enter the Knesset. At the time, that was 2 out of 120 seats. Today it's 3. I don't recall how she voted.

You've probably never heard of either of those parties. Neither of those parties made it into the Knesset. But because they had no vote sharing agreements with any other party, their votes went back into a pool. That pool gave enough votes to Labor and the left to form a coalition. That coalition was headed by the late Yitzchak Rabin, had Shimon Peres as foreign minister, and fifteen months later signed the Oslo Declaration of 'Principles' on the White House lawn with Yasser Arafat. All because two right wing parties with remarkably similar platforms couldn't get together and agree.

Mrs. Carl's sister - who lives in Samaria in a town that her husband helped found - has been kicking herself ever since.

It's happening again.
The National Union and Jewish Home parties are discussing a vote-sharing deal ahead of coming national elections. Any further collaboration between the parties, according to Jewish Home head Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz, is dependent on a signed memorandum of understanding.

Hershkovitz told reporters on Thursday, "We deliberated over the matter for some time, considering the National Union's decision to split the nationalist camp and withdraw from the Jewish Home, preferring narrow interests over the good of the entire camp. At the same time, we thought, it is in just such a situation that we are obligated to be the responsible and unifying force. Out of a sense of responsibility to the public and concern over lost nationalist camp votes, we decided to sign the vote-sharing agreement."


Any further collaboration between the Jewish Home and the National Union, including an agreement to refrain from campaign attacks among the respective parties, Hershkovitz said, was subject to a signed memorandum of understanding between them. Such understandings, he explained, would have to include a statement to the effect that the State of Israel is the "beginning of the flowering of our redemption."

Furthermore, according to the Jewish Home leader, formal political understandings would only be possible with a party recognizing that "we are loyal to the path shown to us by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook and his son Rabbi Tzvi-Yehuda Kook, according to which, service in the Israel Defense Forces is a holy mission, which should be encouraged.... We renounce any movement or organization that scorns or devalues IDF soldiers and the State of Israel's institutions - the national anthem, the national symbols, the flag, Remembrance Day, Independence Day, and the legislative and judicial systems. We pledge to refrain from collaboration with anyone who expresses himself in that way. We condemn and will act against any signs of violent behavior, physical or verbal, directed against IDF soldiers and Israeli police officers. He who raises a hand against a representative of the state is as someone who raises a hand against the State of Israel. ...Recklessness and violence are not our way."

Hershkovitz explained his party's position on political agreements during a tour of Jewish townships in Samaria, where he met with regional government heads and community representatives. As for a coalition agreement with the Likud after elections, Hershkovitz said that the Jewish Home would be the only party that "will fight for Judea and Samaria from within the Netanyahu government."


The latest Dialog Institute election poll, from January 18, shows the National Union with enough votes for four Knesset seats and the Jewish Home with enough for two, one less than the necessary minimum.
Sorry, but with all this ideological purity, I think they're staring at the trees and missing the forest. Vote sharing agreements aren't enough. No one wants to vote for a party whose leaders cannot get along. Especially when we cannot vote for individuals.

Politics is the art of compromise. Would you rather have a Likud - Kadima - Labor coalition? If not, then please get your act together in the next two weeks.


At 10:29 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Agreed. As long as the pro-Land Of Israel parties place their selfish individual ambitions ahead of the country's good, Israel could get a repeat of the last government, probably one headed by the Likud. That's not a good scenario for Israel's future.

Its time for the guys to knock heads together and ensure the greatest number of pro-LOI MKs enter the Knesset, even if just one party has to represent them all. The more influence they have, the more likely there will be a real change in government policy.

One 1992 is enough for Israel.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're wishfully thinking again.

You're going to have a LIkud-Kadima coalition, with SHAS and Leiberman most likely joining.

And you'll be sitting on the outside with zero zilch nada influence - even with vote sharing.

And the leftist Israeli elite will continue laughing at the stupid Jews who could so easily unite and toss away the Netanyahus, Livinis and Baraks but instead shoot themselves in the foot every election by going off and forming their own little play-parties.

This is what you asked for. Now you got it.

Here's another alternative:

Why Likud, by Moshe Feiglin

Hebrew English


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