Here is some food for thought....
The JPost "In Jerusalem" section had 2 articles recently about how Meretz has joined the Jerusalem Municipal Coalition Government, courtesy of Aguda and Shas.
The scanned in articles (for downloading/reading) are here and here.
The story is as follows...
Rahel Azaria is a religious woman, and the head of the local Jerusalem party "Yerushalmim", a party whose primary focus is on social and environmental issues.
It seems that the Shas and Aguda constituency (or simply the party hacks in Shas and Aguda) dislike Rahel Azaria because
(a) she is opposed to forced sex segregation on buses and public streets,
(b) she is opposed to increased government subsidies of haredi kollels,
(c) she is a woman.
Meretz quit Barkat's coalition a long while back because they were angry about Barkat's alliance with the Mafdal/Ihud HaLemui, particularly his support of Aryeh King's activities in east Jerusalem and his support for the Jews living in Beit Yehonatan in Silwan.
A few weeks back, Barkat was forced by the Knesset to appoint an 8th (!) deputy mayor, even though he didn't really want to. His choice was Rahel Azaria. Shas and Aguda threw a fit, and threatened to quit the coalition if Azaria was to be appointed.
So in order to stabilize his coalition, Barkat brought Meretz back in. One of Meretz's conditions was that Meir Margalit be given the east Jerusalem portfolio. Margalit is a rabid hater of religious Jews and an extreme radical leftist, even by general Meretz standards. Peggy Cidor, the author of the articles, and a leftist herself, wrote this about Margalit and his new position:
"As for the results of the decision [for Meretz to rejoin the coalition], this is close to an earthquake. For the first time in 44 years, a radical leftist who declares openly that east Jerusalem is under occupation has been officially appointed to be in charge of that part of the city. Meir Margalit, for years a member of almost all the radical left-wing Israeli organizations and currently field coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions -- the organization that helps Arab residents fight against demolition orders of illegal constructions -- and very active in Yesh Gvul's attempts to bring to justice IDF officers suspected of war crimes, an active member of the Sheikh Jarrah solidarity movement and a strong supporter of a divided capital, has been made responsible for implementing the municipality's sovereignty in east Jerusalem.This, then, is what Shas and Aguda politicians have accomplished for us in the Jerusalem city council. With their threats and maneuvers, they succeeded in keeping out a religious woman who supports all the issues of consensus in the reliigous community -- and instead forced upon us a radical anarchist who hates religious Jews and who plans to actively undermine Israel's sovereignty over east Jerusalem, including the Old City.
Asked how he would combine his personal opinions with the new task, Margalit says, 'I am full of hope and fears. I want to focus on the welfare of the Arab residents of Jerusalem [and not the Jewish ones, apparently - Lurker] until there is a Palestinian state, hopefully created in September, and that Jerusalem would be its capital'."
You might think that Shas and Aguda would be taken aback by the frightening results of their political moves, and that they would feel regret over having brought this dangerous, extreme leftist into power.
But then, you would be wrong. Very, very wrong. Again, from Cidor's article:
"At the [city council] meeting last Thursday, Shas party leader Eli Simhayof was furious. But not because of the return of Meretz to the coalition. On the contrary, this was cause for Simhayof to celebrate... "For us", [said Simhayof,] "Meretz is better than... Rahel Azaria, so we won our case".
You can't make this stuff up.
(This has been a joint Jameel-Lurker post)
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