My apologies for being away from South Jerusalem, the place and the blog. I’ve been on the road, on a schedule that has allowed time for neither sleeping nor blogging. Nonetheless, my first take on the disastrous election results is up at The American Prospect. Here are some excerpts:
Numerically, it would be possible for Livni, Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, leader of the shrunken Labor party, to form an alliance and leave Lieberman to rage from the opposition. Instead, both Netanyahu and Livni immediately sought Lieberman’s support. On Wednesday, Livni met Lieberman, and was quoted afterward as telling him, “This is a time of favor … It is an opportunity for unity and for advancing subjects that are important to you as well.” The competition for his support will allow Lieberman to increase his price, demanding control of powerful ministries and legislation favorable to his platform…
When Netanyahu was elected prime minister in 1996, Lieberman became his chief of staff, and earned a reputation as the enforcer who crushed dissent in the party. Eventually, facing a revolt from party veterans, Netanyahu eased Lieberman out of the job.
In response, Lieberman started his own party, initially appealing to the immigrants from the former Soviet Union who had poured into Israel in the 1990s. Many were professionals who found themselves working at semi-skilled jobs, competing with Israeli Arabs for jobs, living in towns that became immigrant ghettos. Some 300,000 were non-Jews, who were able to immigrant under Israel’s Law of Return because of their family ties to Jews, but who felt uncertain of their place in their new country.
The name of Lieberman’s party, Israel Is Our Home, spoke to the immigrants’ insecurities. With a stress on the word our, it also suggested that the country was not home to the Arab minority. It’s a classic gambit of the racist right: Bolster one group’s sense of belonging by attacking another as outsiders who threaten the nation…
Lieberman also rails against weak government. His party has proposed a “reform” that would allow the prime minister to appoint cabinet members without parliamentary approval. During a state of emergency, the cabinet or even the prime minister alone would be able to enact regulations superseding laws. It’s a blueprint for one-man rule.
Read the full article here, and come back to SoJo to comment.