Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israeli Elections: Likud Vs. Jewish Home

January 2, 2013 1:00 am 0 comments

A Likud campaign poster.

One of the hottest topics currently being discussed in the broadly defined national camp in Israel is whether to vote for a seemingly more right-wing Likud or for a revitalized Jewish Home party in the upcoming January elections. With quality candidates such as Yariv Levin, Tzipi Hotovely and Moshe Feiglin in the Likud versus Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Uri Ariel in the Jewish Home, not surprisingly many people are having a difficult time deciding whom to cast their vote for on January 22.

For me, however, the choice is rather simple and the title of The Who’s classic rock and roll hit “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” says it all. In other words, although the candidates with a more nationalistic orientation certainly fared well in the recent Likud primaries, and Moshe Feiglin, instead of Dan Meridor, will undoubtedly strengthen the ideological backbone of the party, for the most part it’s basically the same people who were elected in 2009 and who were subsequently unable, despite their good intentions, to prevent the building freeze, the Bar Ilan speech and the evictions from both the Ulpana neighborhood and Migron. Similarly, they failed to prevent the Prime Minister from caving in to pressure from both the media and the attorney general on several key bills designed to curtail the ever-expanding power of the courts, and they were likewise unsuccessful in their attempts to have the Prime Minister adopt the findings of the Levy Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria.

This being the case, why should we expect anything different this time around? After all, Benjamin Netanyahu is still the head of the Likud and as the last four years have taught us, he is the one who ultimately makes the decisions.

Moreover, although most agree that the Likud merger with Yisrael Beiteinu was simply a way for Netanyahu to all but guarantee a victory in the upcoming elections, it’s quite possible that the Prime Minister had another reason for joining forces with Avigdor Lieberman. Assuming that politically speaking Netanyahu is the same Netanyahu, then the merger with Yisrael Beiteinu will easily allow Netanyahu to continue with his policy of neutralizing what he considers to be the more right wing elements of his own Likud party.

For in the event that the prime minister is unable to enforce party discipline on a key ideological issue, a scenario in the Likud that is almost certain to happen, his partnership with Lieberman means that he will now have at his disposal a party that is based upon near total discipline to the demands of its own chairman. Thus, even if several members of his own Likud party are opposed to his stance on a certain issue or on a specific vote, all Netanyahu needs to do is to close ranks with Lieberman in order to circumvent the will of his own party.

Equally important, on the key issue of Palestinian calls for statehood west of the Jordan River, the realization of which many consider would pose a threat to the continued existence of the Jewish state, Lieberman, like Netanyahu, publicly supports a version of the two-state solution.

Considering all of the above, it’s difficult to take serious the recent declarations about building in E1 or ads being placed in right-leaning newspapers with pictures of Netanyahu, Feiglin and Hotovely ironically appearing on the same page. After all, the real test is not a month or two before the elections but rather a month or two after the elections. Moreover, the fact that Netanyahu supposedly doesn’t want the Jewish Home in any future coalition only strengthens the point that the Prime Minister, despite his newly discovered right-wing stance, really doesn’t intend on veering to the right after the elections.

For all of these reasons, the choice for the Jewish Home should be obvious. For not only do the respective leaders of the two merged parties, Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel, oppose the suicidal two-state solution, from the outset they have projected a clear pro-Israel line that resonates with more and more Israeli voters from all walks of life. Moreover, the genuinely positive atmosphere being created by diverse candidates relinquishing their own individual egos in order to harmoniously work together for a larger cause, has left many in Israel with the feeling that finally something positive is happening in the ugly world of Israeli politics.

In addition, the greater the party’s success in the January elections, the more difficult it will be for Netanyahu to keep them out of any future coalition. Needless to say, the Jewish Home’s presence in the next coalition would make it more difficult for the prime minister to continue with his habit of ignoring the more right-wing members of his own Likud party.

This personal endorsement of the Jewish Home, however, and in fact the future growth of the party, is contingent upon the Jewish Home finally parting ways with its “sector mentality” background. Although people like Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and many others appear to understand this point, there are still some voices in the larger Jewish Home world that are stuck in the sector mentality. Such people fail to understand that although the party sprouted from the beautiful ideals and morality of the Religious-Zionist world and even still carries these assets with it, it is no longer a narrow “Religious Zionist party” which is meant to cater to the needs of one specific sector but rather it has evolved into a broader party which is meant to embrace and eventually provide leadership for all of the Jewish people. If Naftali Bennett and others around him can succeed in conveying this message both internally to the party and externally to the voters, then the sky is the limit for the party.

The ultimate goal however, in spite of everything written above, is that eventually all the good, quality MKs will sit together in one party. For that to happen, the Jewish Home needs to blossom into a party of at least 15-20 seats while concomitantly the Likud needs to continue to strengthen itself ideologically. If both of these happen then it’s realistic that within 5-10 years a true nationalist leader will be elected as the head of the Likud. When that happens, the two parallel parties will truly be superfluous, a precondition which will then allow them to merge into one in order to finally have a powerful leadership party based upon the requisite ideals and vision to lead the nation. Moreover, it’s irrelevant whether this merged party will be called the Likud, the Jewish Home, or some other name, since the party is merely the vessel to provide the leadership. God willing, that day is drawing close.

This article originally appeared on the author’s blog.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →