In Hebrew this means “no choice.” Of course, in electoral terms, there is a choice — that is what elections in a democratic state are all about. But it feels very much like “ein breira.” And so I needed to follow yesterday’s posting with this observation.
Israeli law does not permit poll results to be posted in the last days before election. Today the last polls we will see in the media before Tuesday’s election appeared. Many show Likud only 2 or 3 mandates ahead of Kadima. This is frightening: altogether too close for comfort. As I said yesterday, if a vote for a small party to the right helps Livni into power, the effort will have been counterproductive. Were Livni to head this nation it would be destructive to a strong and proud Israel. We would have a government of massive confusion and eagerness to make concessions to the PA, a government that ran to please the Obama administration and relinquished our sovereignty for international involvement.
Many people I’m speaking to, who were struggling with the issue of which party to vote for, have now stopped struggling. They see this — as do I — as a “no choice” issue, understanding that Likud must be supported.
Last night Likud ran a major rally in Jerusalem. I was not able to attend but have communicated with several savvy people who were there. What I have learned is that the very issues I addressed yesterday were also addressed at that rally.
Caroline Glick, who was master of ceremonies at the event, said, very boldly, that she would like to wake up and learn that Netanyahu was president and Moshe Ya’alon Defense Minister. Netanyahu addressed this in his talk: If this is what you want, he said, vote Likud.
This is not a guarantee (and I ask, please, no e-mails telling me how you can’t trust Bibi), but it may imply that his courting of Barak was more an issue of strengthening the coalition than opting for a unity government.
Or, put differently, it may suggest that the fact that this issue was addressed head-on (Glick’s statement surely not coming out of the blue) means that Netanyahu has gotten the message: If he wants support, he has to be clearer in what he represents and stop proposing a broadbased government that encompasses the left.
That, in fact, was his theme last night: clarity. He used that word repeatedly. I am telling you what I stand for, he was declaring: No dividing Jerusalem, no giving away the Golan, defensible borders, strong Zionist education in the schools, etc. etc. No, he doesn’t say no Palestinian state, but if he adheres to these parameters, he is making such a state impossible.
He is also very strong on preventing Iran from going nuclear.
Commentator Isi Liebler, writing in the Post about why he is supporting Likud, said, “…I would like to believe that like other great politicians who failed in their early efforts at leadership, an older more mature Netanyahu will rise to the occasion and reunite the nation, introduce long overdue social and economic reforms and take steps in concert with other nations to deal with the existential threat from a nuclear Iran. However to achieve this, Likud must obtain sufficient seats in order to minimize the leverage of one dimensional sectoral parties primarily concerned with promoting their own benefits rather than the national interest. This will be determined by the votes we are about to cast.”
Whatever unease remains, whatever my sadness at not having the opportunity to strengthen the electoral position of the good people of National Union, I remain convinced that Binyamin Netanyahu stands heads and shoulders over Tzipi Livni, and that he understands the essential issues of Zionism and security.
As I vote I will pray that Netanyahu honors his positions, and forges a government on the right, and starts to move us in the direction that our nation cries out for.
Clarification: Polls show that all the right wing parties combined will pull in about 10 more seats than the left wing parties combined. The longing of the nation is clear.
But if the votes on the right are too split — primarily because of Lieberman’s new strength — and Kadima standing alone pulls in more mandates than Likud alone, and if the president asks Livni to attempt to form the new government, and is she is able to lure Shas and Lieberman into her coalition and establish a government, then the longing of the nation will not be heard. This is the weakness of our system.