Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Muqata's Endorsement

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.
I already wrote my list of party eliminations, and now the time comes to make an endorsement.
The bottom line is that only 3 parties are honestly capable of being the core, anchor party of any coalition government.


Quadima is the non-ideology party. Last week, even before Meir Shitreet opened up his mouth and announced today that he is proud of Quadima being the party with no ideology, I wrote that Quadima is the party of the non-thinking Israeli. My friend Ben-Chorin has an excellent analysis of the corruption and anti-democratic backbone of Olmert and Quadima. This was the party that publicly announced that no inquiry was necessary for the violence in Amona. I hope this party quickly ends up in the historical garbage bin of failed Israeli parties.

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


the sabra said...

we want moshiach now!

hatzlacha rabba jameel. and the rest of israel.

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MUST Gum Addict said...

Thanks for painting the picture Jameel. At least now I have some idea of what is happening. I pray that all will turn out well for you, Israel, and all Jews around the world.

Anonymous said...

Jameel, pephaps it is too late to change your mind but I wish to remind you that the Rambam expressly forbids doing anything to bring to power a government that doesn't follow the Torah and while Likud may be better than Kadima, they do not follow the Torah.

The Cahans in Israel said...

I wonder if Kahaneloyalist even lives here in Israel. In any case, while I will not be voting your way, I certainly respect your choice. We have to do everything possible to stop Olmert from staying in power. That's the bottom line.

JoeSettler said...

Unfortunately, your analysis as well as mine indicates the poor situation we are in.

There is no party that properly represents us voters, there is no party we feel we can trust to fulfill our wishes (and their promises or platform). There is no party that whose vote is not without serious risk of one backlash or another.

In short, despite the plethora of choices, we are left with no one to vote for.

Certainly 'Just Not Qadima' should be our model for voting this election, but who says that the party we vote in won't then join Qadima (nearly all of them have openly published their list prices for joining).

I've been surprised as to how many people have told me they are voting Marzel/Hazit (which is what I am voting for). Is it a risk? Yes. But I don't see at a bigger risk than voting for any other party that will at some point join Qadima if Qadima get enough seats.

This election is scary beyond belief. My house is on the line. Your house in on the line. Increased terrorism is on the line. Missiles hitting large cities. More capitulations. An ineffective wall/fence. The potential loss of Hevron, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and even the Temple Mount.

I also feel that everything is on the line. It's times like these that we have to trust in Hashem, and even if things don't turn out the way we think is best right now, we need to remember that in the long term it will.

Jason H. Elbaum said...


Interesting to see how closely we agree on this.

If only there were better alternatives!

Jak Black said...


I respect your position. If the (*my*) gedolim hadn't said to vote Degel, I would probably vote for the Likud. Regardless of what happens today, Bibi has a long career ahead of him.

tafka PP said...

I can't say I'm surprised.

And after similar cogitation, I'll be voting for the party of the gentleman you called the "Bad Man with The Moustache." Will be interesting to see who ends up in the coalition.

Do something fun after you've voted, Jameel!

ifyouwillit... said...

Once again we're choosing the best of the worst options, my mind is split four ways, but you put forward a very convincing argument.

Anonymous said...

If only the Likud would do as you say....

Personally, I think that it is imperative that Marzel pass the minimum threshold to get into the Knesset, otherwise all of the votes for him are going to waste. A lot of people that I know are voting for him - and these people are 'mainstream' - not Chabad Messianists or Kach party members.

My feeling is that people are simply fed up with what is going on in this country, and it is time for a change. Voting for the parties currently in the Knesset will not bring that change, but maybe getting someone else in (who I may not agree with totally) will inject some new life into the current Knesset parties as well, and cause a rightward shift among those parties.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

AbuTorZoo; I agree it could be refreshing to have Marzel in the Knesset.

After shul this morning, I did a quick roundup of who my friends are voting for:

1/3 Likud (same reasons I wrote in my posting)
1/3 NU/NRP (they were always mafdal voters, or NU voters)
1/3 Marzel.

No one actively tried to get anyone to change their mind, since we're all on the same side.

Jak: My big problem with Gimmel, is MK Litzman, who is already aligning himself with Quadima. Also, if the Gedolim would let people go to the army, of even the Nachal Chareidi, then they could get good jobs and education after the army, and wouldn't be desperate for the monthly social security stipends which has Gimmel in a noose.

Elliot: Your bottom line is totally correct.

Joe: I feel like its a cross today between Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur. Not a happy day at all.

KahanaLoyalist: I hope you guys will still talk to me after seeing my endorsement. Ever heard of Mesirut Nefesh -- its sacrificing personal idealogy for the sake of the greater good of Am Yisrael...and its not easy.

stillruleall said...

Why is it Quadima but not Liqud?
While I agree I would like to have a Likud-run government, they are too flaky for me and I would be worried that after a week in office they would slowly start leaning towards quadima. So my vote for Ichud Leumi (proudly cast this morning!) is a vote for a Likud government that is forced to stay on the right or they lose their coalition.

westbankmama said...

Good post and I agree with you totally. I am also afraid for my yishuv - but at the same time I think that Hashem has a reason for putting us in this position. Perhaps we really have to focus more on the education of the chiloni world, and not leave them to the mercy of the Meretz mindset. Our problems should also be a prod to the American Jews who think about coming to Israel but never do it. We need them here already!

Jak Black said...


I couldn't agree with you more about Degel - check out my recent post on the election.

Anonymous said...

jameel, I understand your reasoning, though I disagree with it. My point was there is a Halacha brought down in Rambam Hilchos Melachim that it is issur to do anything that will bring to power a governmnet which doesnt follow the Torah and I do not believe that Bibi follows the Torah.

bluke said...

I have to say I did the same

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

kahaneloyalist: Its unclear if the halacha you are referring to has any bearing whatsoever on Medinat Yisrael, a secular state in Eretz Yisrael.

Anonymous said...

why wouldnt it?

Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

Muqata: now, after everything has been said and done and we've cast our votes(and watched the 11/12 pm news), I have no regrets about voting for the N.U./N.R.P. My wife voted for the Likud. I feel very depressed about the whole thing on the whole and even worse on Bibi's behalf.

Halikud, halikud, halikud...just fleeting memories of singing in Mesadat Ze'ev, welcoming the man formerly known as Sharon.

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