The war against Hamas in
The Israeli General Elections are in the offing and it is very difficult to show any enthusiasm for it. The atmosphere is far from that of the US Election where there was some hope for a new deal for the American people. A fleeting optimism was released when Obama was elected as president of the
A very clear trend amongst the Israeli electorate has emerged since the end of this war. It is an almost foregone conclusion that the Likud and the right wing parties will win the elections and the next Prime Minister will be Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli public will swing to the right and racial overtones will be very much of the right wing campaign for votes. Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian immigrant from
The elections this year are very lack luster with a plethora of has-beens such as Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu attempting re-election as Prime Minister. There is also Tzippi Livni also having a go for that position. All in all the choice is not great. A vote for the Likud-Labour-Kadima triumvirate is not going to bring peace any closer to this region. After all, there is not much difference between these three parties. In any case, Yisrael Beiteinu will also be a part of this new government which will give its citizens pretty much of the same.
The voter who happens to be left has a real problem in deciding for whom to vote. Meretz is not the Meretz of the stalwarts such as Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid. It is a rather watered-down version of what it once was. The fact that Meretz supported the war effort in the beginning, despite the terrible loss of innocent lives, has driven many potential voters on the left away. The Arab Parties are no less one-issue than the extremist right wing Zionist parties are.
It is as if both the extreme right wing of
The choice available to the Israeli voter is large because of the number of small parties participating, but the issues that are so important have not been addressed. Issues such as peace with the Palestinians, economic issues, education and so on have not been addressed by the main parties. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party behave as if they have won the election. Netanyahu who always seems to have plenty to say at election time has remained silent. When he does open his mouth he utters some banality.
The religious parties such as Shas and Torah Judaism will wait for the juicy pickings from the winning party in order to feather their own religious nests. They will do almost anything to become part of the coalition after the elections. They need the tax payers’ money to maintain their religious institutions of bigotry. The easiest way they can achieve this is to extort whichever government comes into power after the elections. This scenario takes place every time once the elections are over and the results are finalized.
The voter’s choice in this lack-luster election is poor. The left wing has been shattered by Hamas violence that resulted in the Gaza War. Even on the left, there are those who supported the war and only after the injuries and deaths of innocent Palestinians became known, they did an about turn and ceased to support the war.
The “disproportionate reaction” of
While Hamas does not show any signs of wishing to negotiate with
The dilemma of the Israeli left for whom to vote has never been greater than in these elections. Labour is not left anymore but a slightly watered down version of the Likud and even Kadima. All three parties would even be prepared to sit with Lieberman despite his repulsive and racist ideology. Meretz has not tackled the important issues of peace in these elections. Perhaps they felt that discussing peace would lose it votes and it is not popular these days.
For the Jewish, secular non-Zionist left, the choice is even poorer. All that remains is to vote for a party that makes Jewish and Palestinian coexistence and equality a central part of its platform as well as remaining democratic in its ideology. This could send a strong message to the right wing racist Zionists of Avigdor Lieberman ideology that his message as well as the message of the right wing religious parties is unacceptable.