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Photo: Shmuel Rahmani
Yoram Kaniuk
Photo: Shmuel Rahmani
Barak saved Netanyahu
Op-ed: Ehud Barak left Labor in order to assist Bibi vis-à-vis Lieberman, ensure centrist coalition
Avigdor Lieberman scared everyone. The foreign minister created a mini-revolution here when he hurled derogatory remarks at Likud ministers. Indeed, it is the Likud that faces danger, rather than Labor. Hence, Ehud Barak’s departure from Labor signifies more than revulsion with fellow faction members, but rather, was meant to assist Benjamin Netanyahu vis-à-vis Lieberman and his rightist colleagues, who are steering the government too far to the Right.

 

Ever since the state’s establishment, when David Ben-Gurion picked “Mizrahi” rather than “Ahdut HaAvoda” to join the government, we had not seen in Israel a non-centrist government. The rightist and leftist margins do not belong to the Israeli story. It’s a pity, but that’s the way it is. Barak understood this, and now the country is facing upheavel.

 

Netanyahu is not dumb. He can read a map. He read many along with Barak in the army. However, Bibi does not have the ability to make decisions and he doesn’t have the guts to take substantial steps. However, he knows who’s attacking him, cursing him, and making his life difficult. Hence, together with Barak he cooked an interesting stew. The Barak faction will be a sort of “leftist faction” of Likud. Meanwhile, the Left that has played with fire for a long time now, Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman, is out.

 

Barak may even end up bringing Aryeh Deri, who wishes to return to politics, into his faction, without Deri’s radical associates and without Shas. Possibly some Kadima members too, who are more Likudnik than Barak and Bibi, will join forces with the faction, which together with Netanyahu will rule Israel.

 

A new era

Is this good? Certainly not. Will it happen? Apparently it will, as otherwise, what motivated Barak to leave the comfortable bubble and undertake such extreme act? Barak did some bad things, but once upon a time he almost finalized a deal with the Palestinians. He’s smart and knows something about human beings; he’s not impressed by people and treats them like chess pawns.

 

Meanwhile, Lieberman seemingly shot himself in the foot, yet he did it so that if he’s indicted, he would be able to accuse the entire political and media establishment, and blame all sorts of “losers” from all Knesset factions.

 

Those who see what happened since Lieberman took off the gloves realize that we entered a new era. Is it a good one? A bad one? Who knows? But we do know that it’s a different one. Barak shall save Bibi, Bibi shall save Barack, Kadima will be forced to shrink, and we’ll see the emergence of the Ben-Gurion coalition here: What used to be Mapai, together with what used to be HaMizrahi, plus the Likud. If Kadima joins the government, we shall be spared the bad winds enveloping us as of late with the racism of the rabbis, who are turning Judaism into an ugly religion.

 

 

 

 

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