Israel Is Effectively a Single-party State

The totalitarianism gaining the upper hand in our lives has to do with the fact that there is no real difference between 'center-left' Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu on the extreme right.

Yitzhak Laor
Yitzhak Laor
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Yitzhak Laor
Yitzhak Laor

A regime gives its subjects language, concepts, images, by many means - from an education system to a briefing for military correspondents. Nevertheless, people feel uncomfortable in face of the regime. Sometimes they even have an interest in resisting it. The opposition is supposed to provide them an alternative voice. People do not exist as an opposition if there is no political party that voices their resistance.

Kadima, therefore, is a disaster for democracy. The totalitarianism gaining the upper hand in our lives - which is mostly of a racist character - has to do with the fact that between Kadima ("center-left" ) and Yisrael Beiteinu on the extreme right there is really no difference. The disappearance of Meretz and the racist ignoring of the Arab public of voters and its representatives in the Knesset are underlining even further how close Israel is to being a single-party state. This used to be called "consensus," now it is broader agreement on most issues. Beyond minuscule differences of opinion among the political parties, we are in effect ruled by a single party, the State Party, with its branches: Likud-Mizrahi (Jews of Middle Eastern descent ), Likud-Russian, Likud-career officers and Labor, Likud-ultra-Orthodox and Likud in its two "authentic" embodiments: Kadima and Likud. This is the context of the loyalty laws and the open season on Balad MK Hanin Zuabi.

In accordance with monotonous political map, which produces the politics, the citizens too are no longer split, even with regard to the fate of the territories, never mind their rights-deprived subjects. Everyone, from time to time, is for "two states." There are indeed phalanxes of settlers, but they live by the spears of the army and the army is the totem animal of the state party. The celebration of unity is presided over by moronic game show hosts. The good times on the way to fascism need not go through anthems and marching songs. It is enough to be a reality show moron.

Meretz voters - the last Jewish opposition public - voted en masse for the right-wing Kadima. Their indifference to this turnaround began back when their party supported Operation Cast Lead. Security-oriented, gung-ho pricks are more convincing in times of bloodbaths. Now the smart alecks are asking us how it could be that the process of becoming fascist doesn't require a dictatorship and prisons.

And indeed, Israeli democracy is a military dictatorship of more than 43 years beyond the Green Line. In its prisons are more than 7,000 prisoners who are defined, from the perspective of the State Party, as "security prisoners" but in fact are political prisoners. The system that tries them and imprisons them sounds and looks like the firemen's band playing Chopin.

In the State Party's consistent effort to recruit immediate and cheap support for itself, representation of most of the citizens has disappeared. Outside the political debate, which repeats itself, are people waiting in an endless line for surgery, contract workers, employees without tenure and denied a pension, employees whose income is losing its value. These people have no representation and no party. The representation becomes "theirs" only when they are threatened with the division of Jerusalem, a settlement freeze, a Turkish flotilla - only then are all Israelis represented by a single party that makes its capital from the false disagreements within it: Who is the greater patriot.

It is better to try to read Israeli politics like this: Disadvantaged citizens are awaiting their turn at the health clinic - few doctors, many hours of waiting - gazing at tabloids, all kinds of entertainers who have dallied in other people's beds and bulldozers putting up villas on our forefathers' estate.

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