The nation's elected leaders would like to perpetuate themselves, and mainly their term of office, in the Knesset. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided Sunday to support a bill presented by MK Yariv Levin (Likud ) that would require new candidates for the Knesset to establish a political party within two weeks of throwing their hat in the ring, and thus limit their ability to raise funds. The committee also decided to reject an initiative by the Labor Party to shorten the cooling-off period for senior Israel Defense Forces and security service officers from three years to one year.
Both moves have the same goal: The ministers and MKs want their terms to go on forever, to pass laws that prevent the renewal of the political ranks, and block the road as much as possible to new candidates from outside the political world. Levin's proposal comes from the desire to thwart Yair Lapid's candidacy. The dismissal of Labor's proposal is intended to prevent senior officers from entering politics after a reasonable cooling-off period.
These actions of the political guild are unacceptable. Israeli politics in recent years is treading shallow water, and the political map lacks impressive personalities. In the upcoming elections the arena should be opened up as much as possible to new voices and different people who will put themselves to the test of the ballot box, people who did not necessarily rise out of the soil of political wheeler-dealers.
The road should not be blocked to television personalities like Lapid (who is the target of Levin's bill ), nor to officers like Gabi Ashkenazi and others (who would benefit from Labor's proposed amendment ), nor to people from other realms. Only the voters will decide whether these people seem worthy to them, whether the path they propose is desirable and whether they should be in the Knesset.
We have quite enough MKs like Levin. New breezes should air out Israeli politics, which is not known for being overly open, diversified or teeming with true alternatives.
Whatever one's opinion of Lapid or of various army officers, the decision on their political future must remain in the hands of the public, and only in the hands of the public. A handful of political wheeler dealers must not be allowed to legislate obstacles to block their path to politics.
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