It's officially election day now in Israel and the polls will be opening around the country in less than 7 hours.
There are 2 forces pulsing through the country on this election day:
1. Extreme voter apathy and disenchantment with the Knesset and government.
2. Dread. The sword upon your neck sort of feeling... This election may very well determine who will be disengaged from their homes. In fact, it almost reminds me of the feeling before Yom Kippur.
It is therefore with great trepidation that I write this blog posting now. The stakes are very high on a national level. People rarely understand the extreme nature of Israeli politics; it's literally a matter of life or death.
Will the government make forced political concessions to Palestinians, instruct the IDF to remove certain key roadblocks, and then within hours the next terror attacks take place claiming the lives of innocent civilians of all ages?
Will additional Jewish residents of Israel be forcibly removed from their homes -- and be treated as traitors by the government and media, thrown to the dogs, lose their livelihoods, and receive minimal compensation (as the public is convinced that every family is receiving $500,000)?
Will the economy stay a free market capitalist enterprise? Will the Labor Union party impose socialist policy on previously profitable companies?
Will the Jewish character of Israel remain, or will there be true separation of Religion and State? Will Israel change the "Who is a Jew?" status to include anyone who believes they are Jewish, regardless of any historical or religious basis?
Will the State stop funding public religious schools?
These questions all exist on a national macro level.
And in my own selfish little world, I may find myself, my friends, and brothers evicted from our homes the same tragic way as this past summer.
The bottom line is that only 3 parties are honestly capable of being the core, anchor party of any coalition government.
Labor's big slogan has been "tough on security" -- they will be tough on Hamas. Don't believe a word of it. The last time Labor was tough on anything was when Rabin evicted Hamas terrorists to Lebanon in 1994. 12 years ago was the last time Labor was tough on Palestinian terror. They will bend over backwards to work out a deal/treaty/agreement with any terror organization, as long as they claim they are making peace-process progress. When the current intifada erupted in September 2000, there were dozens of interim cease-fires with the Palestinians which were naively fostered by the Labor party. Not one lasted more than a week, and it gave the terrorists ample time to reload, rearm, regroup, and laugh at us for being so naively stupid to believe their cease fires. In the economic sphere, the Labor Union party is a free market capitalist's worst nightmare.
That leaves us with the Likud. This party was torn apart by Ariel Sharon -- once a proud party of center/right Israeli politics, it was destroyed, along with the right wing majority by the Sharon family. (Again, see ben-Chorin's erudite analysis
). Luckily for the Likud, the vast majority of its self-serving politicians bolted from the party and fawned after Quadima.
While Benjamin Netanyahu may not be the darling of the right, and may be susceptible to external pressures to capitulate to the Palestinians, the Likud and Netanyahu are the only political party and leader with any potential of leading the formation of a right-wing Knesset coalition (assuming the best possible scenario and the rightwing/religious receive a 61 seat majority).
This does not leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. The Likud has mostly abandoned political ideology for uber-pragmatism, yet still remains the only possible alternative to attempt the formation of a rightwing coalition.
To be honest, I could bash a whole slew of parties on a variety of issues. But what's the point?
If you want to vote for Marzel (who may or may not pass the minimum voting percentage), or the National Union/NRP-Mafdal, Yisrael Beitaynu, Aguda or Shas -- I'm not going to convince you otherwise, since they are all potential right wing coalition partners.
Yet without a core, anchor party, there can be no hope for a right wing government.
therefore, I will vote with my head and not with my heart, and cast my ballot for the Likud party this morning.
Yet the Yom Kippur feeling fails to dissipate, and the enormity and difficulty of our situation in Israel leaves me very anxious.
At the end of the day, I would still rather face the music here in Israel, with the bitter and the sweet, as we actively participate in molding the future of Jewish history.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael