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Photo: Amit Shaabi
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Amit Shaabi
Ben-Dror Yemini
Israel's right-wing is repeating mistakes of defeated left
Opinion: By representing the entire right-wing, Netanyahu is hampering coalition building with Blue and White and is dragging the country to the extremes; this is a far cry from what the Israeli public wants, and from the pragmatic leader he used to be
Change in Israeli politics comes slowly, but the right-wing is heading in a direction similar to that of the left as it collapsed.

 

 

When the left collapsed, It was a process. It was not caused by the Oslo Accords first signed in 1993, as some claim.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu at swearing in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset (Photo: Reuters)
Prime Minister Netanyahu at swearing in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset (Photo: Reuters)

 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak won the vote as head of the left-wing Labor Party in 1999 even after the shortcomings of the Accords were clear to all.

 

As long as the Zionist left was patriotic it remained strong. Its downfall came when left-wing politicians began explaining away the Palestinian violence of the intifada at the turn of the millennium, rather than condemning it.

 

It appears the right is heading in a similar direction. It is going too far to the right, to its own detriment.

 

A right-wing that increases funds for ultra-Orthodox institutions for religious learning, promises annexation of parts of the West Bank, pulls the country in the direction of one-state with a diminishing Jewish majority, is no longer a Zionist right-wing, it is anti-Zionist.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu represents this trajectory more than any other politician.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his far-right and religious bloc
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his far-right and religious bloc
 

Not long ago, Netanyahu was considered by his current far-right partners to be on the extreme left because he was willing to consider and even utter the two words "Palestinian state."

 

As long as he was considered to be a rational leader, careful and measured, the Israeli public supported him, believing his priority was the good of the country. But that has now changed.

 

There is now the Netanyahu of the past and the right-wing leader of today.

 

It is not the prime minister's corruption that is leading the course; he has turned too far to the right and the responsible leader is no longer there.

 

When he was finance minister, Netanyahu did not hesitate to confront the ultra-Orthodox parties and their demands for funds. The prime minister of today acts as their personal emissary.

 

Blue and White and Likud negotiators discuss a possible unity government
Blue and White and Likud negotiators discuss a possible unity government
 

"Who do you represent?" Blue and White members asked the Likud delegation at the start of talks aimed at forming a unity government.

 

"We represent the ultra-Orthodox and the settlers as well as our party," came the answer.

 

"Can we discuss issues of religion and state?" the Blue and White team asked.

 

"No," came the response.

 

How can coalition negotiations proceed if subjects such as settlement restrictions or funding for ultra-Orthodox projects are off the table?

 

No compromise offered by President Reuven Rivlin can solve that stalemate.

 

The Zionist left became obsolete when it went too far. The Zionist right is doing the same.

 

No change in Israeli politics happens quickly. It will take time, but the process has already begun.

 

The September elections saw three to five seats move from the right to the centrist parties and that is a start. A substantial start.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (Photo: AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (Photo: AFP)

 

Unless Netanyahu reverses course, this trajectory will continue.

 

Perhaps the prime minister's affinity for gifts and amenities can be forgiven, perhaps his corruption can be tolerated. But only if he leads the country in a better direction.

 

At least 10 Likud seats will be lost before the party no longer agree to be taken hostage by the ultra-Orthodox and the extremist settlers in Netanyahu's inner circle. They did not sign up for that kind of a country.

 

Netanyahu has lost his magic touch in Israeli politics. He failed to form a right-wing, religious government after the April elections, lost support in the September ballot and is again unable to form a government despite being taske by the president to do so.

 

His only success so far is turning his entire party into a tamed flock of sheep.He is a dictator in his own party, and that is not enough to win over the country.

 

We are now witnessing the start of the collapse of the right-wing.

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 10.05.19, 22:43
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