Photo: Yair Sagi
Tzipi Livni
Photo: Yair Sagi

The Right has already won

Opinion: While Gantz and Lapid are aiming to gain right-wing votes, Gabbay is trailing behind with his social agenda and Livni is crashing, it seems the Israeli public has already accepted the fact the Left is headed for defeat.

About a month ago, Tzipi Livni, than still a partner in the Zionist Union, announced that her camp is striding down a path that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.



"We seek for Israel to be a safe country for its citizens and one that abides by the Declaration of Independence, and currently this ideal is threatened," Livni said.


"We need a Jewish majority to preserve a Jewish and democratic state. We must  also separate from the one million Palestinians living between the Mediterranean sea and the Jordan River who aspire to establish their own state, in order to achieve peace," she said.


Tzipi Livni (Photo: Yair Sagi)
Tzipi Livni (Photo: Yair Sagi)


The day after Livni made these remarks, Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay issued his shock announcement that he is dissolving his partnership with Livni and splitting from her Hatnuah Party, in what became one of the most tumultuous breakups in Israeli politics in recent time.


Gabbay dropped the political bombshell with Livni sitting beside him at a Zionist Union faction meeting.


Many reasons led to this divorce, covering a broad spectrum of political as well as personal issues between Gabbay and Livni, however, the latter's decision to place an emphasis on Israel's need for a political solution was without a doubt one of the main reasons for the split.


Why is this interesting? Because it reveals a profound process that Israeli politics is undergoing, the key being the fact the Right has triumphed even before Israelis cast their ballot. 


Gabbay dismantled the Zionist Union because he preferred to promote a social agenda versus one focused on the conflict.


Avi Gabbay and Tzipi Livni (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Avi Gabbay and Tzipi Livni (Photo: Amit Shabi)


"People want change, they want someone to take care of them, and that's why I'm here," Gabbay said.


The polls are far from flattering for Gabbay, however, the Labor party will definitely pass the electoral threshold, which cannot be said about Livni's Hatnua Party, whose agenda of reaching a peace agreement trails far behind the bar that would enable her to return to the Knesset. This must be the price for being the last party leader who still waves the banner of the leftist diplomatic worldview.


Another example for this is Israel Resilience Party leader Benny Gantz's debut speech in which he chose to stress that the times of division between the Right and the Left have ended. In addition, the former IDF chief joined forces with Moshe "Boggi" Ya'alon's Telem Party, former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser, and journalist Yoaz Hendel.


Benny Gantz (Photo: EPA)
Benny Gantz (Photo: EPA)


Gantz's objective was clear: to make it as difficult as possible for anyone who tries—and Likud members are definitely trying—to label him a leftist. To achieve his goal, Gantz teamed up with Ya'alon, who cannot be mistaken for someone who would promote the two-state solution.


Furthermore, back in 2015, Yair Lapid declared his Yesh Atid party as centrist, leaning somewhat to the Right. In the speech he delivered at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) four months ago, he spoke against the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes during the 1948 War of Independence, against the division of Jerusalem and for differentiating between a solution for the West Bank versus one for Gaza. These statements, aimed at the Israeli mainstream, may not distinctively represent the Right, but they certainly do not represent the Left. 


Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid


And so Gantz and Lapid are aiming to gain the right-wing votes. Gabbay is trailing behind with his social agenda and Livni is disintegrating. What remains of the Left? A little bit of Meretz and the Joint List, which hardly constitute a threat to the current government.


It seems that even if the elections are still many weeks away, the Israeli public has already accepted the fact that the Right has won, and that at the very least, it is no longer possible to continue arguing over the failure of the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.


Miri Shalem is the CEO of the Institute for Zionist Strategies


פרסום ראשון: 02.03.19, 23:44
 new comment
This will delete your current comment