Photo: Noam Moskowitz/Flash 90

Good for Bibi, bad for us

Op-ed: Netanyahu's decision to maintain alliance with haredim perpetuates rotten draft arrangement

Let’s start with an old, brief joke. A new immigrant was asked to say, in a word, how life is in Israel. “Good,” he replied. Great, and now using two words? “Not good,” he said.


This is the answer to the question of whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to maintain and preserve the longtime alliance with the haredim over the nascent romance with Kadima: It’s good for the haredim and good for Bibi, maybe, but it’s bad for everyone else.


The sad truth is that Netanyahu’s decision isn’t surprising. With my own ears I heard one of the more experienced politicians in Israel’s political establishment predicting that this will be the outcome. It’s a waste of time and money, he said.


And now, less than two months after the fact, the answer to the question on whether our prime minister did well (the PM of all of us – new IDF recruits, draft dodgers, those who bear the burden and those who shirk it, those killed on the border and those who sacrifice their lives, metaphorically of course, studying Torah) is no. The answer is no.


Ongoing exploitation

Netanyahu did not do a good thing, because natural justice seeks an equal share of the burden. Because the current arrangement has been stinking, for years now, like a shady deal. Because all the learned explanations, verbal sophistication and artificial excuses cannot legitimize despicable, ongoing exploitation under the guise of ugly deals secured by give-and-take masters.


There is no real reason that would stand the test of elementary integrity and justify the indulgent arrangement worked out by haredi functionaries for their voters. The only reason this arrangement has not yet crashed on the heads of its initiators is the graciousness, naiveté and helplessness of those who bear the burden – the ones who should have handed back their service certificate to the IDF a long time ago and dodged their military service proudly.


And Netanyahu, who stumbled upon a rare opportunity - even if a partnership with Kadima is not his heart’s desire - and could have worked out an honest, proper arrangement for the first time in decades, chose badly. His decision is bad for today’s new recruits, for tomorrow’s new recruits, and for next month’s new recruits. It’s bad for their parents, bad for the people of Israel, and good only for the serial exploiters, who for years now have not personally carried their share of the national burden.





פרסום ראשון: 07.05.12, 18:03
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