Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Adar 5766 - March 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
A Political Scenario that May Not be a Purim Joke

So far the Israeli election campaign has been quiet and boring in the sense that there have been no significant campaign developments. Nonetheless, perhaps in the Adar spirit, the pundits have managed to suggest some quite lively scenarios for the morning after the elections.

There has been a lot of recent talk about the unreliability of political opinion polls in Israel either because some people (including chareidim) do not cooperate with the pollsters, and/or the documented fact that pollsters who are pressured into filling quotas of answered questionnaires simply fill out the forms on their own. We will assume that the polls are correct. If they are in error, it is almost certainly in the direction that will make these speculations more likely, not less likely.

Even if we assume that Kadima is by far the largest party the day after with 38 seats, that leaves 82 others — more than two-thirds of the Knesset. The pundits note that the law says that the president asks the leader with the best chance of forming a government to make an official attempt, and this may not necessarily be the leader of the largest party.

It should be recalled that in forming Kadima, Prime Minister Sharon managed to antagonize just about everyone else on the Israeli political scene. Acting Prime Minister Olmert does not have the leadership ability, or charisma, or political skill to make people forget the recent past or overlook it.

Of course the Likud was furious at Sharon and Kadima for ignoring its party machinery and striking out on their own, turning their backs on the Likud and taking along many senior politicians. Labor is still smarting from the departure of its senior members, Peres, Itzik and Ramon. Sharon announced each senior politician to join him with undisguised relish, and there can be no doubt that both Labor and Likud would enjoy seeing the failure of Kadima. The new party itself is seen as an opportunistic collection of politicians from hostile backgrounds held together mainly by their desire to win at any cost.

The numbers add fuel to the speculation. The only MKs who are considered categorically unwilling to join an alternative government are the Arabs and Meretz, who together have 13 according to the latest polls. That leaves 69 — more than enough, by the numbers, to form a government without Kadima.

Who is among the 69? Labor and Likud are expected to have no less than 35 together. In the past 20 years they have been in several governments together, and know how to get along. The other half is composed of Shas with 10, National Union-NRP and Yisrael Beiteinu with 18 together, and UTJ with 6. Although there are differences among these various parties they are certainly no greater than the differences that exist within the Kadima party itself. Fear and loathing of Kadima and what it may do if given power may be more than enough to pull them together enough to form a bloc that could prevent Kadima from forming a majority, and even allow them to form a government themselves.

This calculation is known in Israeli politics, and Silvan Shalom has even spoken about it publicly. Anonymous Likud and Labor politicians have also spoken about the chances of their leader becoming prime minister. Of course, before the elections no one will suggest that his party leader would even consider a rotation for prime minister, but it is clear to everyone that some arrangement could be worked out. Much depends on the exact final numbers that are announced the day after the election.

We should note that the position of UTJ is always assumed in these calculations to be in the opposition, but our repetition of this speculation should not be taken as an endorsement of it or even a suggestion of its likelihood. The path of UTJ has been and will be charted by maranan verabonon gedolei Yisroel shlita, who examine each question as it is finally presented to them with their pure perception of daas Torah that has no relationship to the political calculations proposed by the pundits, even if they sometimes coincide with what politics suggests.

In the meantime, let us enjoy Purim and hope that the light and simchoh and sossone and yekor will begin then and overwhelm all of the modern elements that do not fit in.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.