Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Amir Peretz
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Amnon Abramovich

Labor must look back to go forwards

The once great party that built the state should reinstate Amir Peretz as leader after the disaster wrought by Avi Gabbay, as the next generation of lawmakers are either too inexperienced, too delusional or too young

Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party says Avigdor Liberman's insistence on passing the Haredi draft law is to blame for the decision to hold fresh elections in September.



But the truth is that after 42 days of trying to form a government, Netanyahu did not have a single agreement with a single party.


Benjamin Netanyahu after the May 29, 2019 vote to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky) (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Benjamin Netanyahu after the May 29, 2019 vote to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky) (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


Every potential partner knew that it could deliver blow after bow to the prime minister, because it was not the fate of his government that was at stake, nor his political fate, but his personal fate.


Every party knew that it could deprive him of creating a government and deny him his freedom at the same time. Each party knew that it could stick him in opposition and then in jail.


Let us not be confused and or fooled by rhetoric. Let us not be taken in by old and tired goods; the next elections are not a struggle between right and left, between dove and hawk, between capitalist and social democrat.


The next elections are about immunity. Period. That is why Netanyahu is making a supreme effort to recruit the religious and the ultra-Orthodox, the nationalists and the lunatics.


He knows that for many Likud voters, the cracks are beginning to form. People are starting to realize that he wanted their votes for his own benefit and not theirs, for personal reasons and not national ones, to wipe away his deeds and not to achieve new great ones.


The Blue and White party could find an opening here and there among the Likud base, but it seems, for the time being at least, to be a party without real impetus, snoozing at the switch. It will fight the next elections with the same line-up, perhaps giving Orly Levy-Abekasis the fifth spot on the list, which going by the April election results is definitely worth two Knesset seats.


The Labor Party will at some point undergo a revolutionary process. Its rightist, hawkish wing will join a centrist party such as Kadima or Blue and White, and the leftwing, dovish faction will unite with Meretz to create a self-proclaimed left-wing party.


But this is not going to happen in the imminent future. The next elections are a snap election, leaving no time for political renewal or upheaval.


In the last Labor primaries, Amir Peretz came second after Avi Gabbay. There were those who warned that Gabbay would deliver the party's poorest electoral showing in its history, but the gang refused to listen.


Amir Peretz (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
Amir Peretz (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


They wanted a new car still in its wrapping, with zero miles on the clock, and it led to them almost winning no seats. But after the disaster of Avi Gabbay, which any political pundit could have predicted, Labor must now quickly put Peretz in the driver's seat.


Peretz won't create a revolution, not even a mini one, but he is the only person capable of stealing two or three Knesset seats from Likud.


Labor is characterized, among other things, by a lack of self-respect. Take, for example, MK Itzik Shmuli, a diligent and dedicated parliamentarian who has fought hard for the weaker sectors of society, but who in his six years in the Knesset hasn’t managed more than his aides.


When he runs for the Labor leadership and vows to bring change both to party and state (!), I think it is pretentious on a good day and megalomaniac on a bad one. Or there's Stav Shaffir, who is sassy and can certainly be seen as party leader in another decade.


When it comes to her relatively young age (she is 34), Shaffir says that, "People younger than me established the state."


Staff Shaffir addressing the Knesset plenum (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
Staff Shaffir addressing the Knesset plenum (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


When it comes to claims that she too is relatively inexperienced, Shaffir is testy. "What do you mean I haven’t run anything in my life, I ran the Knesset transparency committee," she says.


She did indeed initiate the creation of the committee for transparency and provision of government information to the public and also headed it. But it is still too nebulous a track record, even hollow, to claim a crown.


The political discourse in the coming elections will take place in low octaves, in whispers, if at all. There will be no talk of peace or arrangements or ending or even reducing the occupation.


The best outcome would be a right-center government of Blue and White and Likud government and without Bibi. The left-wing will have to wait for another time.


פרסום ראשון: 06.18.19, 17:10
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