Bottom shekel / We all lost
The shareholders of Israel settled for choosing the directors, who agree on nothing, let alone on a CEO. A business without a CEO won't get far, let alone a complex business like the State of Israel.
Kadima and Likud are the biggest parties in Israel, yet neither has even 30 seats in the Knesset. That makes them medium-sized parties at best, yet the new government must be formed based on their medium-sized strength. In 2009, the Israeli voter elected to dismantle the center once and for all. There is no party or person with true power. There was no decision on who would lead the people, and to where.
Shareholders are called to assemblies to elect a new CEO. The shareholders of Israel settled for choosing the directors, who agree on nothing, let alone on a CEO. A business without a CEO won't get far, let alone a complex business like the State of Israel.
The indecisiveness is glaringly evident in the composition of the new Knesset. Alongside medium-sized Kadima and Likud are three medium-small parties: Yisrael Beiteinu, Labor and Shas, with 11 to 15 seats each, and seven small parties with 2 to 5 seats. This is a divided Knesset with 12 factions.
It cannot be managed. Any structure other than a unity government will require six different parties, each one capable of bringing that government down. Therefore, each will be infinitely able to extort money for its own causes. The government will be unstable, spendthrift and irresolute.
An Israel contending with what may be the worst economic crisis in its history, with chasmic social gaps and security threats on every front, needs better than that. Yet the Israeli voter evaded his responsibility to elect a leader. These elections didn't even produce a business plan.
Did the Israeli voter want diplomatic appeasement? Kadima, Labor and Meretz, and the Arab parties comprise 55 seats, far short of a majority. Forget appeasement.
Did the voter yearn for hawkish diplomacy? Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, National Unity and Habayit Hayehudi have only 49 seats together. Even if we add Shas to that equation - not that we can assume Shas voters are necessarily hawkish - we only get 60 seats.
So there is no majority for either hawks or doves.
What about social causes? The social bloc, Meretz, Labor, Arabs and Shas, has 38 seats. Clearly social-democracy isn't for your Israeli voter. What about capitalism, largely associated with the right wing? Tellingly, that's the only ideology that came out of the election stronger, by virtue of the fact that both Kadima and Likud back it.
So, Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima could build a social-right-wing union with 70 seats. But those three will never sit together, so the one thing that the Israeli voter decided on in 2009 can't be manifested.
In essence, the Israeli voter elected not to choose. Not a leader, not a way. All he chose was division.
In the Arab sector, three parties squeaked into the Knesset, though the differences between them are slim. In the Jewish sector, three hard-right parties passed the threshold (National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, Yisrael Beiteinu) and they're just as hard to tell apart. Shas and United Torah Judaism insist on trekking down separate roads, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, though they're going the same way. Meretz and Labor, both dovish social-democratic parties, can't find common language.