Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: Add new tag, Kadima, labor, likud, Livni, netanyahu, posted by joshman91
The first point to be made is one that people on both sides of the spectrum can agree with: Israel is in desperate need of new leadership (more so than the United States).
However, does Israel, like America, need “change,” or more of the same? Some on this blog would argue that the issue is not so black and white. They would say that although Livni is a member of Olmert’s disastrous Kadima Party, she is a promising, pragmatic leader that can unite Israel once and for all.
When people get excited about Livni, as I have on certain occasions, they are oblivious to the fact that she is not in touch with the majority of the country. She only won the nomination by 431 votes, and received around 20,000 votes, which is, according to the Jerusalem Post, only 1.1% of the general electorate. According to the New York Times, the Kadima Party is only made up of about 70,000 voters, and only half or so made it to the polls. All of these statistics mentioned above have caused Likud leaders (the right-wing party) to call for general elections. They argue that it is undemocratic for a small party like that to be determining the path Israel shall follow.
It is no surprise that the country is skeptical of the Kadima leadership. Based on the record of the Olmert Administration, it is obvious that the party is corrupt and is incapable of getting anything done. Although I would call myself somewhat of a pragmatic-centrist, I have no faith in the so-called centrist platform of the Kadima Party. I am all for reaching out to others in order to get things done; however, a party that lacks principles will never be able to lead.
In my opinion, general elections will occur soon. Livni has called for a national-unity coalition, but everyone knows Likud would never consider the option. When asked about it, Likud leader “Bibi” Netanyahu said “joining Kadima in a government would be tantamount to joining the board of Lehman Brothers.” The Labor Party is fearful of a Likud takeover, so they will no doubt remain loyal.
The glue that was holding together Olmert’s coalition was the orthodox party known as Shas. Shas leaders said they would leave the coalition if Jerusalem was brought to the negotiation table. Unfortunately for Shas, Livni is opened to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem. As if that weren’t enough, the New York Times reported that Livni and Shas leaders are in disagreement over child welfare policies. Hence, I believe Likud can persuade Shas to leave the coalition.
The polls show that if general elections were held today, Netanyahu would clearly be the winner. Due to corruption, unsuccessful peace talks, and a revival of terrorist attacks, the public has become rather hawkish. If Israel is a democratic state, then the government should let the public have a say. Bibi could not have stated it better when he recently said, “He who fears the people’s choice, should not lead.”
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