Text size

I wonder what caused Shelly Yachimovich to reveal her positions even before conquering the Labor Party. Until now, they were known only to esoterics, including her self-declared ally, Gideon Sa'ar of the Likud. Those who deluded themselves with: "But that's not what Shelly really thinks!" could be given the benefit of the doubt. How did the young leftists who joined Labor because of her feel now? They've always heard her say that she doesn't speak of the occupation because it isn't the main priority. Before making critical decisions, they quoted her, "There must be a society." And how is a society created? Through social democracy, of course. What a lovely, progressive term.

But reading Yachimovich's remarks makes one want to run away from that pair of words. With her, it's neither social nor democracy; it's the social right - like that of Moshe Kahlon or David Levy, two politicians who, in contrast to her, are proud members of the right. Even Beni Elon, Aryeh Eldad and Yaakov Katz would agree with her: The three of them (like many others in the settler right ) are true-blue social-welfare advocates who loathe privatization, support taxes on the rich and more.

They would also agree with her description of her reality, according to which it is a "historical fact" that the settlement enterprise in the territories, which Labor founded, was in the consensus.

Let's put aside for a moment the question of whether every ill that "was a consensual move" deserves absolution. The "fact" is faulty. Gush Emunim's aggressive takeover of Israeli politics may have been done with Labor's disgraceful cooperation - but "consensus"? Was it not in response to angry leftist demonstrations that Menachem Begin declared, "There will be many more Alon Morehs? Did the best and brightest of Israel's ethicists and intellectuals not write dozens of volumes of research and opinion proving that the settlements and the occupation are destructive and that they reduce any possibility of a peace agreement? And did Yitzhak Rabin never exist?

Wasn't it Yachimovich herself who said in an interview with Haaretz in 2005: "While the welfare state here was being destroyed, while investment in the development towns was suspended, an alternative welfare state took shape on the other side of the Green Line... It is completely obvious that the giant occupation enterprise damaged the economy... and the state's social safety net"?

The racist rabbis who preach insubordination, the violence against Israel Defense Forces soldiers, the religious terror of the Zionist ultra-Orthodox, the battle to destroy the justice system, the obliteration of Israeliness and of civil identity in favor of the Diaspora-like insularity of "Jews" versus "goys" - and we haven't yet said a word about the Palestinians - of all these, Yachimovich elects to dispute the populist argument that pits "money for poor neighborhoods" against "money for the settlements."

"I am not in favor of boycotts," she said. Really? What about the boycott of Mizrahi Tefahot Bank over executive salaries? Or is it only boycotts against settlers that are taboo now?

To Haaretz writer Gidi Weitz's question about the tension between Zionism and socialism she says, "I am not aware of such an argument." She should have the devoted party workers she loves to call "ideologues" get her up to speed on that. They could recite the history of the struggle, which gave rise to fascinating sub-sects of socialist Zionism and various syntheses.

But Yachimovich, loyal to her right-wing stance, prefers to measure "Zionism" against the test of military service and standing at attention during the national anthem.

This test, too, is acceptable to the Zionist Haredim, the destroyers of the Zionist idea and its vision of sovereignty and a normal, ethical state. It's been a long time since they were interested in territory per se; their aim is to bring about deep change in Israel. They want all of Israeli society to make the crude, distorted distinction between sanctimonious "social justice" and the horrific injustice stemming from the continuation of the occupation, from the settlements and from the fanatic-nationalistic Judaism that rejects all civil values. That is the foundation of the dream of the big Jewish state, in which Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will be inferior subjects.

The skimpy Labor Party is bruised from misuse. Ironically, just when there seemed to be an opportunity to resurrect the alignment of the left from its ashes, it is now that Yachimovich, apparently convinced of her victory in the primaries, offers to become the "social-oriented" tchotchke of the Likud. No wonder Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished her luck.