At the Time of NO Alternative.

by Steven Shamrak

Many observers were surprised by the high voter turnout during the last election in Israel, 65.2 percent. After decades of hopeless political games played by both major political players, corruption and absence of choice (in spite of enormous number of parties for a small country like Israel), Israelis have become disillusioned and developed a strong political apathy toward the election process in Israel.

Who would ever believe that Jews would become politically indifferent? Turnout since 1949 had generally been above 75 percent until there was a sharp drop in 1999 to 62.3 percent. It seems the Oslo agreement destroyed the confidence of Israelis in the viability of Israel’s political system and self-serving politicians of all political spectrum.

The results of the election are interesting, disturbing and quite common for Israel. Kadima narrowly won with 28 seats but is not able to form a majority government with its natural partners of the left-wing parties. Therefore, Tzipi Livni started courting Likud and a fake extremist, Liberman of the Israel Beiteinu party, to fake another unity government.

On the other hand, Likud received 27 seats in the Knesset and in good position to form a majority Jewish national coalition. Although it was predicted before the election that Likud may win up to 30 seats, but Likud’s position became weaker after Netanyahu’s political games backfired when he marginalised Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Manhigut Yehudit faction, by moving him to an unwinnable 36th position on the Likud election list, and when a few days before the election he suggested the possibility of a coalition with the Kadima and Labor parties.

People were looking for a new direction but realised that Likud under the leadership of Netanyahu will change nothing! Votes for the Israel Beiteinu party, which received 15 seats, were mainly protest votes, not support for Liberman’s ideas of swapping land in Israel for Jewish land in Judea to accommodate the creation of another Muslim terrorist state, or easing the conversion process for those non-Jews who came to Israel in violation of the Law of Return!

The only winner from this bogus election is the current ‘lame duck’ Prime Minister of Israel, Olmert, who will be able to stay in power and avoid corruption charges for a bit longer while this charade of forming a new Israeli government progresses.

Israel desperately needs to change the political process, starting with rationalising the number of political parties and making sure that they are based on clearly defined political and national platform, not on the origins or religious affiliations of the voters. Then people will have a clear-cut picture of what each party is about and whom they want to be represented by. Otherwise there will be endless elections that will only bring Israel closer to an existential abyss!