The good news here is that Likud is strengthening beyond anything that was imagined. Netanyahu is playing it incredibly smart.
I wrote yesterday about Benny Begin re-joining Likud. He’s well to the right. Then there’s Uzi Dayan, centrist-left, who joined recently. Miri Regev, former IDF spokesperson, joined Likud yesterday.
This has been followed by MK Effie Eitam (a religious nationalist currently with NU/NRP), who has expressed an interest in joining Likud. And word is that Dan Meridor — formerly an MK with Likud and more centrist — would like to be on the Likud list, just as very possibly former chief of staff Lt.-Gen (ret.) Moshe (Bogi) Ya’alon — who was fired by Sharon for having the integrity to speak out against the disengagement — might be.
And there may be more: Danny Seaman, a tough and principled man, has suspended himself from his post as head of the Government Press Office while he considers the possibility of running for a place on the Likud list. While Marina Slodkin, a very popular Russian who demonstrates integrity, is thinking of moving from Kadima to Likud.
And even this is not the end of those being drawn or encouraged to go with Likud.
In a handful of instances, individuals, such as Meridor, are hoping to have slots on the list reserved for them. Most will run in the Likud primary for their places on the list. After the primary, an ordered list will have been established. How many of those on the list actually make it into the Knesset depends on how many votes, proportional to all votes cast, Likud garners.
The political “star” quality of those announcing now will be a factor in pulling votes. And once the election is done, the caliber of those representing Likud promises to be elevated well over what we’ve seen of late in our government (which, if truth be told, isn’t even saying much).
The way matters are being structured, Likud would become a wide tent, accommodating many viewpoints. Yet, the party is being viewed as centrist-right, and it seems that it would tilt right. Nothing else would be acceptable to Benny Begin, certainly, nor to Ya’alon nor Seaman nor Eitam (should they join).
Coupled with this is the announcement by National Union (consisting of the parties Moledet and Tekuma, with Ahi undecided as to participation) and the National Religious Party that they are disbanding in order to form a new right wing party. NRP is headed by a very active and outspoken Zevulun Orlev, and NU by Benny Elon, who is promoting the Israel Initiative (a plan for asserting Israeli sovereignty over the land while finding a solution for the Palestinian refugees).
The goal is to establish a party that will be a home for all nationalists, whether religious or secular — hopefully together also to draw more votes than these two parties have in the past.
Aryeh Eldad, currently with NU and an outspoken man of great integrity, is apparently planning to resign and start a new party that he has been working on developing: Hatikvah, a secular nationalist party. I am sad about this prospect because I see it as a real possibility that the party might not pass the threshold for a seat in the Knesset and Eldad would be lost for at least an interim as an MK. He’s too good a man to do without.
This activity on the right, coupled with the Likud activity, promises the possibility of taking Kadima off the political map — something which desperately needs to be done.
The problem with all of the plans described is that we must wait three months now for elections and the horrendous administration we’re enduring now can, for that interim, continue to do its damage.
I wrote recently about the destruction in the middle of the night of the Federman home (complete with all its contents) outside of Kiryat Arba, and of the campaign to vilify the “settlers.” This continues on all fronts. Tough-minded residents of Judea and Samaria communities — tired of being cast as the bad guys, as the reason why there cannot be peace — are speaking out and fighting back.
But it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
Activists — including members of the Kiryat Arba municipality — had begun to rebuild the Federman house. But it has been torn down again. Although I doubt that we’ve seen the last of this.
And there’s more coming down the road. There is the issue of Beit HaShalom — Peace House, in Hevron, on the road, called Worshippers’ Way, that leads to the Machpelah (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) from Kiryat Arba. The building, of considerable size, was purchased legally by Jews from a Palestinian some time ago. Twenty families have been living there for one and a half years now. But Arabs have protested and the government continues to challenge the right of Jewish residents to be there.
Lawyers representing the Jewish community of Hevron have presented to the High Court a recording of the man who sold the house telling his friend, while under no duress, that he had done so. It was expected to finalize matters but the Court has not delivered a ruling.
Tonight there is unease in Hevron because of observable police activity in the area and the speculation that a night time eviction of the families from Beit HaShalom may be in the offing. Word has gone out to activists to assemble there.
Why is this happening? It’s about pushing back the Jews in Hevron so that there can be full Palestinian control, never mind that Hevron is the second holiest of Jewish cities.
It’s what happens when Jews who have forgotten who they are govern.
And it is what makes the political activity I’ve described above so very important.
Arutz Sheva carried a quote from David Wilder, spokesman for the Jewish community of Hevron:
“The building is ours, and any attempt to throw us out is immoral and illegal. It is the result of the wild incitement against the Jews of Judea and Samaria, especially as heard in the government’s Cabinet meeting of yesterday, and in the media as well. But we will continue to buy property here whenever we have the chance, and, to put it simply: We will not give up!”
And I say again, more power to them! Jews everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to these few who are mindful of our traditions and rights and are prepared to stand strong for them.