For days, the source of the foul odor that lingered in central Israel last week remained unknown. Well, that mystery was cleared Tuesday. Israeli politics are rampant with examples of dirty deals, murky partnerships and shady maneuvers in the dark. Still, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, who made their midnight alliance public only hours after the Knesset dissolved itself in preparation for an election, set a new standard of cynicism while redefining the term "breach of public trust."
Peres' failed attempt at daylight robbery with the ultra-Orthodox parties in the 1990s seems, in perspective, no more than mischievous antics. Since that miserable effort was later dubbed "The stinking Deal," one wonders what name would do justice to this scheme. Yet, the darkest hour bears a great blessing.
This might be a turning point, which might help redefine local politics, step one along a clearer, healthier route. There was really no point in calling an early election. The public remained puzzled as to their reason or themes. Not one serious topic or strategic question overshadowed the polls demanding the voter to make up his mind - the "equal service" spin notwithstanding. These was almost the most superfluous and costly election in Israel's short history; fortunately, when they will take place in less than two years, they will be decisive and clear-cut.
After years of paralysis, confusion and obfuscation, Israeli politics may have a chance to regroup along the lines of most large democracies, and try to woo voters to choose between two distinct directions. The camps are clear: On the one hand, a right-wing religious-nationalist hyper-capitalist coalition that would complete a full term in government without any political threat or ready-made excuses concerning "back stabbing," or "spanners in the wheels."
This coalition is now expected to swear eternal loyalty to the occupation and settlements; declare open war on the High Court of Justice and the rule of law; clash directly with the U.S. and EU; decide if to strike Iran or not; and tackle a recession complete with impossibly large social gaps - a direct result of its own policies. Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, the settler and Haredi parties will all be part of this coalition.
On the other side, finally, a true center-left opposition not forced to regroup as a result of a poll defeat or coalition accident, but founded as the bearer of an ideological alternative. True, one can easily detect different nuances implying ideological disagreements, but these do not amount to substantial differences. This alignment will include the Labor Party, Yair Lapid's party, Meretz, the Arab parties and, possibly, some representation of the protest movement and the National Left. Tzipi Livni, recovering from her hasty retirement from the Knesset - yet more proof of her political short-sightedness - could probably rejoin politics somewhere among those parties.
Kadima, the largest party in this Knesset, will pull a disappearing act. Mofaz discredited the party forever with his shameless maneuver. Kadima's disappearance might cause an electoral shock in the present, but is a great promise for the future. Publicly, we won't lose much. Mofaz and his kind in Kadima's leadership will be forced to try to readjust to the Likud, the "home one never leaves," or leaves for a while, depends on the circumstances. Ehud Barak and his sorry supporters from "Atzmaut" will face the same sad fate. The unity government created Ttuesday by the Netanyahu-Barak-Mofaz trio is a unity of cowards. All three, formerly commanders in the General Staff's elite special-operations force, revealed themselves as anything but heroes. They truly cannot expect the public to ever trust them again.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now