According to a Dialogue poll conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs, which was published last week in Haaretz, if the Knesset elections are held in the coming months, we will once again get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as leader of the country. The right-religious bloc is expected to increase its strength, while the center-left bloc will be changing its internal balance of power. The coming elections will not focus on the question of Bibi (Netanyahu ) or Shelly (Yacimovich ); it's more likely that we'll get both Bibi and Shelly. This government will also be called a "national unity government," like several of its predecessors, including the one that led to the failure of the London Agreement with Jordan, its twin that helped dissolve the Oslo Accords, the government that built the settlements and the one that began the Second Lebanon War.
Shelly Yacimovich was an active member of the Labor faction when it served as a fig leaf for the most right-wing government ever to rule in Israel. It stood aside when the diplomatic process with the Palestinians collapsed. MKs Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Isaac Herzog, Eitan Cabel and Avishai Braverman have already been members of Netanyahu's cabinet. MK Raleb Majadele hastened to replace Minister of Science, Culture and Sport Ophir Pines-Paz, who refused to sit alongside Avigdor Lieberman in Ehud Olmert's government. Were it not for Defense Minister Ehud Barak's stinking maneuver, they might have participated in the bonding celebration at the Netanyahus this Rosh Hashanah. They would explain to us that it's irresponsible to disband a government when Iran wants to destroy us.
To Yacimovich's credit it should be said that she does not hide the possibility of joining Netanyahu's government. Shortly after she was elected chairwoman of Labor she begged Pines-Paz to return to the party leadership. He expressed a willingness to consider it, on condition that the chairwoman would promise him that she would not bring the party back into the Netanyahu government. She rejected the proposal and made do without the contribution of one of the most popular people in the Labor leadership in recent years.
Last spring Yacimovich said at a public event (and even published the statement on her website ), that she would not join the government at all costs, but added: "That option exists, if my party is able to influence the diplomatic process." But how will she know if the party can influence the diplomatic process if she doesn't join the government?
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz was recently there, in the Netanyahu government. It's true that it was only for a short time, but also at a low cost. The founder of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, explained that he didn't leave the good life in order to submit parliamentary questions from the opposition benches. Why do masses of Israelis, who wouldn't dream of giving their vote to Likud, support its satellite parties? Why are Labor, Kadima and Yesh Atid, which are also announcing the possibility that they will support Netanyahu, the default choices of realistic men and women who have been through this bad scenario, with its inevitable conclusion, a number of times? In criminology this phenomenon - of prisoners who return to a life of crime - is called recidivism. Meretz is the only Zionist party that has never joined a "national unity government" and its voters can rest assured that their votes will not find their way to one of the dry fig leaves lining the Netanyahu government. So why does Labor, which lost its way, receive at least 20 seats in the polls whereas Meretz, whose faction members in the Knesset have always been considered diligent and honest parliamentarians, is expected to receive no more than five seats - fewer than Kadima, whose future is behind it, and fewer even the unknown quantity called Yesh Atid?
Twenty years ago Meretz won a dozen seats and became a senior partner in the government of Yitzhak Rabin, which brought the Oslo Accords to the world and halted the madness of the settlements to some extent. Meretz has not changed its political, democratic, Jewish and social path since then. With its meager strength it is trying to rescue the honor of those ideals. It is Israeli society that has changed its face. Tossing Meretz to the sidelines is another sign that our society has lost its way.
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