Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When the Gedolim call Jameel.

On my way to work this morning, I got a call from a Godol.

He's not a godol hador, or THE Godol Hador...but he's one very serious Jew.

When I think of friends of mine who are seriously committed to learning Torah, this person is in the top 2. Come to think of it, he's probably #1. He works for a living, and still finds the time to learn all the time, and ensures that many others do as well. It's really a privledge to be counted among his friends.

He's so serious that he never reads my blog, (or others!) even when I point them out to him. Well, maybe once in a while, but very rarely.

He called me today on my way to work.

"To what do I owe the honor of this phone call," I asked.

"Rebbe, my Rebbe," he said on the phone..."who should I vote for in the upcoming Israeli election? I used to vote Gimmel (Agudah/Degel Hatorah)...but for this election, I really need your help...please give me some advice!"

Unlike Shiloh Musing's Batya, Ze'ev from Israel Perspectives, and JoeSettler, I haven't yet come out with an endorsement of who to vote for.

In the Muqata's yishuv, anonymous activists hung up pashkevilim, huge posters encouraging people NOT to vote. Incensed, other political activists tore the posters down (score one for freedom of expression).

We at the Muqata are definitely going to vote, but we haven't made up our minds yet.

Parties who we aren't voting for:
  • Any party with Arabic letters in them, unless they say: جميل في المقاطعة

  • Meretz. As much as I think social concerns are important, this is one party that thrives on the vilification of settlers and religious Jews. There is what to do about finding better solutions for the challenges of religion and state in modern Israel, but the solutions need to be found through respect, not hatred and anti-religious sentiment.

  • Labor. Amir Peretz is known to the Muqata family as the "bad man with a mustache"...his Labor Union strikes routinely cancel nursery, kingergarten, schools, bus service, garbage collection, shuts down the airport, and shuts all government service agencies. This guy is in charge of making your life miserable. Granted, I'd prefer he negotiate with the Palestinians than Netanyahu, since Peretz never crosses his own red-lines, despite the billions of Shekels in damage he causes the Israeli economy, but that's no reason to vote for him. If the future PM is smart, they would add him to any negotiating team.

  • Quadima. Sharon's party. Er, Olmert's party. This is the party for the non-thinking Israeli. Sharon created the party and never really explained what he was going to do. He did state outright that there would not be any more unilateral disengagements, but Olmert has already announced that he would implement a HUGE unilateral disengagement, which would probably include your's truly. Sharon is incapacitated and we have no idea what the real platform was supposed to be. Yet the party is sort of floating along, with an insane amount of alleged popular support. If you believe the polls, one out of four Israelies wants to vote for a party with no real platform, direction or solution. The best metaphor I've heard was the "villa in the jungle" party. They appeal to the villa-dweller and are ignore the jungle around them -- everyone feels good by near-sighted short term, radical measures which will probably lead to Qassam rockets landing on the villa.

  • Shas. I'll take my chances on going to heaven with another party.

  • Green Grass party This party wants to legalize marjiuana use. They have a great commerical of a guy going into a bar, getting rowdy, breaking a bottle and starting to threaten a woman with it. The police burst in and charge past the guy, and arrest some quiet person sitting in the corner smoking a joint. In any event, this party's not an option, nor is the cab driver's party.

We've managed to narrow the list. My friend needs an answer soon and he's counting on my Daas Torah to help him out...

More to follow.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Mike Miller said...

Before MG or Steg gets to say it:

Quadima? What's with the u?

Don't you know there's no "U" in Qadima (that's true on so many levels... well... at least two)

Safranit said...

Sigh...these decisions are so hard to make....we know we must vote, but for whom? I'm shocked with my own decision, but my fear is that too many on the right will not be voting, so I'm hoping to save us from Kadima and the bad man with the mustache.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mike: The U in Quadima is for Ehud Ulmert.

Safranit: We must vote. Even if its the least of all the evils. Care to share your thoughts on who to vote for?

Ze'ev said...

Jameel, does that mean that Gimmel is an option for you?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ze'ev: While Gimmel is an option, I wouldn't consider it a serious enough option to worry about (or bother including it in the list above).

What concerns me is that voting has become a process of elimination, instead of finding a party which really appeals to me.

Hopefully, my Daas Torah muse will solve my problems soon enough.

Rafi G said...

question is: do you vote for Likud, to bloster their chances of beating kadima or do you not vote for them because they perpetrated the disengagement and netanyahu cannot be trusted not to do it again himself and pick a different party to vote for instead...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rafi G: Your question is spot on.

I'll be grappling with that issue on a posting here soon.

The Likud is very problematic (and this is one of those times I'm thankful that my blog is anonymous, being that I'm on the Likud Central Committee)

There are still a few good reasons to vote Likud, but we'll have to analyze all of them shortly, as well as the reasons to vote for other parties.

Ze'ev said...

As I see it, the chances of Likud winning more seats than Kadima are almost nil - that, however, doesn't mean that Likud can't form the next government - if collectively, the parties on the right win more seats than those on the left -which is not as crazy as it sounds.

Then, the issue becomes, how could the right work to ensure that a government once again by the Likud would not turn into a government of expulsion - and to that, I believe the answer is by having the Likud flanked by a strong right-wing - in this case, the NU-NRP.

Rafi G said...

so, Zeev, which party do you think it is more important to strengthen? The Likud so it will combat and rival Kadima? NU-NRP so there will be a strong right wing bloc? Marzel, as he is the only one there with any integrity, no matter how crazy you might think he is? vote for a partisan party instead?

Let us not forget, the NRP stayed in the government when the voting for disengagement was passing, just as the Likud "rebels" did. they are just as guilty of allowing it to happen. We do not know what would have happened had they resigned, but Orlev presents me with a serious problem voting for NY-NRP. If I decide to go with them, I might as well vote Likud. They have the same problem, but I have better reasons to vote for Likud then NU...

Scraps said...

For once, I think I'm glad not to have a vote. I'm still on the other side of the pond for now, for better or for worse. All I can do is hope and pray for security and peace. (And not the kind that involves unilateral disengagement.)

Anonymous said...

Here's the reasoning to vote for Marzel:

People say he doesn't have a chance to get into the Knesset - yet he still has at least 45,000 die harders who will vote for him. Those votes will go to waste.....


another 30,000 people also vote for him and he gets into the knesset. Therefore, you should run out now and convince all of your friends to vote for Marzel - so that 45,000 votes should not go down the drain. You have nothing to worry about - Marzel will not take part in any disenagagments - especially since his house (or should I say caravan) in Chevron will probably be one of the first to go.

chardal said...

Best decision I made was to vote for Marzel last time.

Sure he didn't get in but any other vote would have carried with it the guilt of having some level of involvement in the expulsion.

Same reasoning applies this year.

Joe Settler said...

I bet that Jameel will narrow his vote down to Likud, NU, and Marzel, each with good reasons for and against.

That's when he will face his real dilemma.

All I'm gonna say (besides reading my blog on the subject) is listen to Chardal and the anonymous blogger above him.

Joe Settler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rafi G said...

I have pretty much narrowed it down to Marzel and Likud, and I have good reasons to vote for both, but better reasons for Marzel than Likud.A real dillema

~ Sarah ~ said...

hard decisions! while i try to follow what's going on, it's a bit confusing from where i am. thankfully i don't have to make that decision but i can see that serious research is needed for your vote to count for the right party.

Zman Biur said...

We do not know what would have happened had they resigned

No, you can never know, but it's not hard to guess: Labor would have stepped in to take their place, just as they eventually did anyway.

Ultimately, a right-wing government can implement virtually any left-wing policy, since the left will support it automatically and the right won't bring down its own government.

rockofgalilee said...

a guy at my office thinks we should change the system to vote for "not someone" and then everyone can choose the worst guy to not be in. The one who has the fewest negatives wins.

rockofgalilee said...

I got an NUNRP sign on my lawn, but I'm still trying to decide between them and UTJ.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

ZB: Yes, a right-wing government can implement virtually any left-wing policy. However, the right wing DOES bring down its own government and has done as follows:

1. Shamir inches slightly to the left in 1992 by going to Madrid and sort of meeting with the Palestinians. The most right wing coalition government is Israel's history (Techiya party) brings down Shamir and Labor gets in.

2. After a painful 4 years of the Labor-born Oslo accords, the Likud returns to power in 1996. Bibi goes to Wye and implements the "Wye Accords" -- and leaves Hevron. The right-wing once again brings down the government (NU party).

3. Its hard to call the current government right wing, but Sharon came in on a right wing ticket before decimating the Likud and implementing the "Disengagement". Ultimately, the right wing brought down the current government as well (2005).

The problem is that we need rightwing leaders who don't backpedal and crumble under pressure (or kowtow to the world) -- and can remain loyal to their original party platform. Sharon called for a internal party referendum on the Disengagement, LOST by a huge majority, but as expected, spat at his party's membership and did whatever he felt like.

Ze'ev said...

Just a few points:

Everyone seems to be o nthe Marzel bandwagon for one of three reasons:

1) He is the only one with any true integrity / ideology

2) You dont want ot have a guilty conscience by voting for a different party and then have there be another expulsion...

3) He is anti-establishment, so he will make a lot of noise in the Knesset

None of these reasons is a good reason to vote for Marzel.

If you want ot vote for marzel b/c you truly believe that he can actually change the situation if his party gets in, thats one thing, but that's not what I am hearing here.

1) Everyone should be aware that Baruch Marzel was begging the NU-NRP to allow him to join with them.

How could Mr. Ideology have been begging on the eve of the deadline to submit party lists to sit with NU-NRP? I thought, that acc. to Marzel, the NU-NRP is full of leftists and sell-outs?

Bottom line, Marzel wants to get into the Knesset, and he would have been more than happy to do so with the NRP, but b/c they said no, now he is bitter.

2) If the reason you will vote for marzel is so you can sleep at night, you are truly wasting a vote.

Tell me this, did anyone who voted for Marzel last time sleep well during ther expulsion of Gush Katif?

If your answer is yes, then you are a very sick person.

B/c you voted for Marzel you can sit by and feel good about yourself while the Jews of Gush Katif were expelled? Please.

If your conscience is the issue - then don't vote, b/c no party will be able to get all that they want in the next Knesset.

If you are going to vote, vote for a party that will actually work towards trying to accomplish something, rather than just voting for the party who will let you sleep at night while the country burns.

3) It's nice that Marzel is anti-Establishment - but again, what is he going to be able to accomplish in the Knesset if he gets in? What laws will he be able to pass? he has made it perfectly clear that he is not intersted in working with anyone who doesn't see things exactly as he does - so he wont be able to pass any laws, sit on any committees or further his agenda in any way.

What steps will Marzel take in the Knesset to prevent further expulsions? Would the last expulsion have been prevented if Marzel was in the Knesset?

We need to try to have as strong a right-wing party & bloc as possible, that can work for our interests, and the fact that Marzel likely won't get in, and even if he does, won't be able to further his agenda leaves him as a wasted vote.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rock: Keep the sign on your lawn, even thought I doubt I'll end up endorsing them.

I will probably come out against UTJ...but we'll have to see.

Ze'ev said...

The best hope that we have is to have a strong right-wing bloc that will win 61+ seats in the next elections + and thus keep Kadima out on the sidelines.

This time around, the Likud will not have 40 seats, but maybe 20, and thus, will be bolstered by a strong right wing flank (made up of a strong / united NU-NRP) and thus be able to ensure that they will not be able to bulldoze their agenda through like they did last time around in expelling the Jews of Gush Katif.

A strong Likud alone will not keep Israel safe and the Jews of yesha in their homes. If the NU-NRP will not earn enough setast his time around to form the next government, then we need to be as strong as possible to ensure that ta Likud led government will not be able to act without the support of its major coalition partner - the NU-NRP.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Zeev: Its alot easier to convince people to vote NU/NRP by telling people why the NU/NRP is a GOOD choice.

Don't fall into the trap of bashing Marzel...even if he doesn't pass the "achuz hachasima" -- point to your party's strong points.

It's much more honorable for you, and the right thing to do.

westbankmama said...

I'm voting for the Likud, because without a good showing there is NO chance for a right wing government to be set up. Most of those who voted for the disengagement have left for Kadima, and a lot of the "rebels" who worked very hard to stop it are in the running. Yes, there are problems with them, but at this point we have to be realistic. Whether NU/NRP gets 9 or 11 seats will not make a bit of difference, if the Likud doesn't set up the next government. Same goes for Marzel - you might as well throw your vote into the garbage can.

amechad said...

Uh, since you are on the Likud Corruption Committee (did I say that? And I'm voting Likud), I would advocate Likud for two reasons:

1. Bibi's neoliberal economic policy. Enough said. Economic freedom creates political freedom creates peace creates prosperity and wealth. I like freedom.

2. Bibi will not engage in a unilateral disengagement plan because he believes in negotiations and the virtues of a negotiated settlement and understands political behavior and the academics of conflict resolution. However, ultimately, the borders are going to be similiar to The Five Percent Solution no matter whether it is unilateral or negotiated. I would argue that negotiated is better. One may ideologically not like these borders but one needs to be politically realistic. However, Bibi's neoliberal economic policies which will create economic prosperity will encourage western aliyah and the return of yordim, upping Israel's population hence there is a theoretical chance that some of them would settle "over the Green Line" and thus this would minimize the extent of any inevitable withdrawl. But, everything has ALWAYS been based on demographics. Don't expect it to change now.

Rafi G said...

I like westbankmama's comment. It is all moot, if Likud gets 20 seats. if they do not get enough to from the next government, the whole right-wing bloc thing will not happen. Shas will not commit, as they will join almost any government that will have them, and Yisrael beiteinu are not much different, in that regards.

The rightwing bloc will only happen if Likud gets alot of seats. much more than 20. If I do not vote for marzel, i vote Likud, to give them a better chance to form the right wing government.

Voting Marzel: with all the other bad choices, sometimes it is honorable to do the right thing even if it means not coming out the winner. if you believe in Marzel's platform, by all means vote for him, even if in the end he does not get in (and I think he will). nobody who votes Marzel should feel bad if he does not get in. the votes wasted last time by him would not have changed anything. Sharon did what he wanted and one or two extra seats opposing him would have made no difference. NRP sat in his government and helped him pass the disengagement. He spat in the face of his own Likud members. He took Mitzna's losing platform from the last elections. He relied on the left wing parties for his support and did what he did. Marzel's wasted votes would not have made a difference.
I see nothing wrong with voting according to one's conscience, even if those votes end up being wasted.

tafka PP said...

Hi- how funny, and here I am pondering my decision and they're all on your list of definite nos.

Well it would be very boring if we all agreed wouldn't it.


Tiburon said...

I'm perpetually amazed that otherwise obviously very intelligent and perspiscacious folk continue to discuss Israeli Politics as if they are discussing a "democracy".

Vote Beasts. (of burden). Ersatz democracy, defacto tyranny, punctuated by 'multi-party elections' every few years. With no government accountability between elections.
The Swiss Germans have a saying. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Hazit is over the threshold now, 57,000 signed voter committments, and is the only party platform promoting fundamental Regime Change.

Nothing will change till the dysfunctional mockery of 'democracy', worst of some 70 democracies worldwide, is ripped down. The High Court travesty, too.

This will only happen if Israelis are educated as to the poisonous little cesspool into which they cast their votes every few years. That education will take time, soul-to-soul. Until then, we better hope there's enough on the Right to hold the line, but expect no change, just more circus, until it does.

Hazit MK's will principally work to educate Israelis OUTSIDE THE KNESSET, and that's the best reason to vote BIG for them.

As I've commented elsewhere, IMHO no one who hasn't read Paul Eidelberg's "Jewish Statesmanship - Lest Israel Fall" should be allowed to vote, for only a tiny tiny fraction of Israeli voters otherwise understand the electoral, judicial, and Constitutional issues at play. Dumb vote beast votes are what the promoters of 'contemporary democracy' need and use to maintain their tyranny. I'm for Classical Democracy. Jewish Classical Democracy.

Ah well. There. I've 'vented'. 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.'

Vote. Vote Right. Vote Hazit

and read Jewish Statesmanship (Hebrew, Russian, English), before next Tuesday, if you really want to lay claim to an understanding of Israel's political "system".

Tiburon said...

And Jameel...: - "The problem is that we need rightwing leaders who don't backpedal and crumble under pressure (or kowtow to the world) -- and can remain loyal to their original party platform."

Human nature being what it is, until we have an electoral system that allows you to PUNISH MK's who do not fulfil their promised platform, it is hopeless to expect any influence over your own future in Israel. (I mean unless you wanna join the Olmert/Peres/Beilin cabal's 'future'! THEY'LL take care of you, be sure... :-)>.

These fools, clowns and knaves function with total impunity, save from their most egregious criminal doings, and oft not that, either.

As PE says: - "It's the System, Stupid!" (not yu ;-))

amechad said...

I read Eidelberg's book but it lacks some serious scholarly creds. His major flaw, however, is that he equates democratic institutions with American democratic institutions. He doesn't recognize the legitimacy of PR (proportional representation), the European system, etc.

I like the American system and personally prefer it but it doesn't work everywhere. Eidelberg's ethno-centric advocacy of disenfranchising Arab citizens and disregard for any system non-American is not democratic.

Israel certainly can make institutional improvements, notably in the Knesset, but saying its not a democracy ... well then, none of Europe (except MAYBE the UK) is.

Tiburon said...

The American system is closest to Torah Halacha on governance, on the planet, in fact based closely by the Founders on Torah prescriptions for rulership. This is Torah fact.

Straight PR is suicide for the Israeli State, (though HaShem will ultimately Decide, of course).

Arabs would not be disenfranchised under his proposals - au contraire. In fact they would finally be required to be EQUAL to other ethnicities and religions, in their RESPONSIBILITIES, as well as their "rights". ('Cept of course in the Upper House/Senate/Sanhedrin - restricted to Jews. Good enough, better actually, than Japan, amechad. If you disagree with this, then vote for Meretz and a 'secular state-of-all-its-citizens', and work against the concept of a JEWISH STATE.)

Rene Louis Beres considers PE the world's leading poli-scientist and Constitutional theorist. Take up PE's "scholarly cred." with him, 'K?

Eidelberg discusses and comprehensively answers all your points in exquisite detail, in the Israeli context, in Jewish Statesmanship.

You seem to have spotted all the questions, none of the answers.

BTW, no European parliament, or ANY world parliament (except homogeneous peaceful and pretty Holland - Eurabia notwithstanding) uses PR like Israel does.

Devil is in the details, amechad. Humbly, suggest you re-read, perhaps paying attention this time.

amechad said...

I am not saying I am a huge fan of PR or that institutional reform isn't a good thing. I'm just saying that even without it, Israel is still a democracy.

Tiburon said...

well, given that Egypt, just for an example, is considered a 'democracy', guess I must concur, amechad.

We're supposed to be Light Unto the Nations. In Canada, a single Member of Parliament crossing between Parties (out of 308, mark you) between elections, causes a media uproar that lasts months and requires a full Ethics Review.

Compare. Compare.

Tiburon said...

Nor can Members from Opposition Parties sit in Cabinet. Only Members of the ruling party, minority government or otherwise. Which means that unpopular laws CAN'T be rammed through by Cabinet fiat by a minority government - because Parliament (which has REAL direct elected representative power)can vote them down.

What a Concept!

In Israel, all MK's are totally beholden to their party bosses for their place on the List. No tickee, no washee, babe. The bosses do what they want, for the gold, and the MK's shut up if they expect to be gettin' their pensions. Definately not accountable to the folk who vote them in, I mean unless they actually shoot someone.

Oh. Never Mind...

If this is "democracy", give me Albania.

Safranit said...

Well, after much consideration, I've gone with the "zazim yamina, kadima smolla" campaign....I voted Mafdal last time, and although I'm angry that Orlev joined with National Union, I hope he and Finkelstein do help to bring this NU-Mafdal merger into a more than one issue party.

I guess I'd call myself a Meimad/Mafdal voter (weird to say the two together?) I want a party that will keep the state of Israel Jewish without making the non-religious Jews feel like they don't belong.

Jameel..if I'm lucky you'll be the only one reading these comments ;)

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