Cold Feet–Why Israeli Voters Shouldn’t Get Their Fantasy Government

Haim Watzman

The talk in the locker room at the Jerusalem Pool has been surprisingly conciliatory since the election last week. Dani, who voted Meretz (after seriously considering Hadash) and Siman, who voted Likud, agree that the next coalition should consist of the Likud, Kadima, and Labor, under Bibi Netanyahu’s leadership.

When I pointed out that the foreign and economic policies on which Likud and Kadima would be hard to square unless one or the other party betrayed its principles, Dani and Siman insisted that the differences were negligible. So Kadima advocates cutting a deal with the Palestinians in which they’d receive nearly all the West Bank, whereas Likud promises that no such deal will be forthcoming. So Likud advocates tax cuts and a tight budget while Kadima’s program calls for a larger deficit and more government spending to stimulate the economy. When you get down to it, Dani and Siman insist, they’re really the same.

Why this yearning for the country’s large parties to rule together? President Obama has been learning some lessons in recent weeks about the futility of seeking bipartisanship when the ideological differences between the parties are real. Haven’t Dani and Siman been reading the papers?…

Read the rest on Jewcy–Comment there or here.

2 thoughts on “Cold Feet–Why Israeli Voters Shouldn’t Get Their Fantasy Government”

  1. I, who am an “extreme Right-winger” who voted for the National Union want a broad government for the very reason you don’t want one…..it is a recite for paralysis, and this is what I most want from the next government. The “strong, authoritative, security-minded” Prime Ministers, such as Begin, Sharon, Rabin (he actually was quite weak, but was perceived as strong) did the most damage to the country by making the most concessions to the Arabs. Weak, confused, ineffectual Prime Ministers like Olmert and Barak gave away the least. Sure, they talked a lot, but in the end, didn’t damage the Israel’s territorial interests, particularly the Judea/Samaria settlements.

    What is interesting about you and your friends is that you have the view common amonst the Left that the true “Right”, i.e. the Orthodox religious, the settlers, the Russians, etc as essentially illegitimate with no right to have power . Somehow the Likud, thanks to its history of breaking its promises to its voters by ending up carrying out the policies of the Left is now considered “acceptable” in these circles, based on the assumption that, in the end, it will continue to carry out the policies of the Leftist Establishment. However, this is not the wishes of its voters. Sometimes, as in 2006, after Sharon broke all his promises and destroyed Gush Katif, the Likud’s voters abandoned it, whereas this time they came back, so there is always the possibility that it may actually carry out a “right-wing position”, but I have my doubts. That is why I support brining Tzippi, someone I actually despise as incompetant, ineffectual airhead with no prinicples into the gov’t….this will cause relieve pressure from outside sources like Obama because he will have to say “we can’t push Israel too hard, otherwise the ‘right’ will come to power”!.

  2. I just came back from a visit in Israel, and this article essentially sums up my conversation with my cousin, who lives in Efrat about the election. He voted for Bibi, “I am a settler, who do you expect me to vote for”, but fully expects that Bibi will be able/willing to negotiate with the Palestinians. He said that he knows many settlers who voted for Bibi as opposed to a more extreme party such as Yisrael Beiteinu, because they are pragmatic and understand that some kind of compromise will have to be made with the Palestinians.

    My cousin feels that Bibi will be a tougher negotiating partner, and he dislikes people on the left who he says feel the need to apologize for the settlements. As he sees it, there are plenty of left wingers living in houses that were previously occupied by Arabs who left Israel in either 48 or 67, and that from a moral perspective they have no right to look down on today’s settlers. He sees no reason to apologize for the desire of Jews to live in all of Israel, even though he acknowledges that a territorial compromise is necessary.

    I don’t agree with his analysis, and I think that what is needed now is a bold gesture by Israel to show their intentions for peace, such as truly freezing settlements and even starting to dismantle them. And I don’t think that people who use the settlers as bargaining chips are really being their advocates.

    But the most frustrating thing is the fact that too many people on the Israeli and Palestinian side are willing to see the nuance in their own positions but not in the positions of the other side. I think people are far too willing to discount what their politicians tell them as posturing. They really don’t believe anything they say.

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